Nigeria opposition mulls alliance to beat Jonathan

Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:34pm GMT

By Nick Tattersall

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's two main opposition parties are mulling an eleventh-hour alliance to try to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan in elections on Saturday, opposition sources said.

Officials from the two parties -- the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) -- met in Abuja on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of fielding a single candidate against Jonathan, the sources said.

The deal could see former anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu, the ACN candidate, step down to allow ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari of the CPC to lead the main opposition ticket, the sources said.

The ACN would field its vice presidential candidate Fola Adeola, a respected businessman, to run alongside him.

"There is a meeting on the electoral fortunes of the opposition parties but the details I cannot confirm ... The meeting was still on (late on Tuesday)," Buhari's spokesman Yinka Odumakin told Reuters.

A spokesman for the ACN could not immediately be reached.

The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) has won every presidential race since the end of military rule in 1999 and Jonathan is considered the favourite, but the opposition parties are hoping their regional strengths could force a run-off.

Buhari has strong support in parts of the mostly Muslim north while the ACN has its stronghold in the southwest.   Continued...

<p>Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan waves to the crowd on arrival at a campaign rally in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 16, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Penney</p>
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