Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed that he will seek another term in elections next year, ending months of speculation about his future after bouts of ill health.
The 75-year-old said he would seek his party’s presidential ticket to contest elections in February 2019 during a closed door meeting of the national executive committee of his All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
He flew to Britain for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May a few hours later, says a Reuters report.
The announcement by Buhari, a northern Muslim who became the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent at the ballot box, was widely expected although stocks on the Nigerian market fell 1.01 per cent on Monday to a three-month low.
“It takes away the concern of an open race which would have fuelled uncertainty,” said a Lagos-based equity sales analyst.
The bond market shrugged off the announcement with the 10-year benchmark debt unchanged at 13.64 per cent from its previous session after one trade on Wednesday, traders said.
Buhari took office in May 2015 after vowing to improve security and crackdown on endemic corruption, but Africa’s top oil producer fell into its first recession in 25 years in 2016, largely caused by low crude prices and militant attacks in the Niger Delta, and its recovery remains fragile.
After spending five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed ailment, opposition groups in Africa’s most populous nation and other critics said he was unfit for office and his administration was beset by inertia.
If Buhari is selected to contest the presidential election, it is not clear who he would face as the PDP, which prior to the former general’s 2015 victory had held power since Nigeria adopted civilian rule in 1999, has yet to select a candidate.