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Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 16:57 UK

Former leader of Nigeria Babangida to run for president

General Ibrahim Babangida
Ibrahim Babangida lost power after he annulled 1993 elections

Nigerian former military leader Gen Ibrahim Babangida will run in the 2011 presidential poll, his spokesman says.

He told the BBC that Gen Babangida will seek the nomination of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Gen Babangida took power in 1985 in a bloodless coup, but was forced to step down in 1993 when he annulled elections generally considered to be fair.

He had declared he wanted the PDP nomination for 2007 elections, but later withdrew his candidacy.

The PDP has said that its presidential candidate will be from the mainly Muslim north, which includes Gen Babangida - or IBB as he is known in Nigeria.

IBRAHIM BABANGIDA
Senior officer during Nigeria's civil war, 1967-70
Participated in three coups - becoming leader in 1985
Survived a 1990 coup attempt
Resigned presidency in 1993 after nationwide strikes and protests
Nicknamed "Maradona" for his clever political dribbling skills
Gave himself the title "Evil genius"

President Umaru Yar'Adua has not been seen in public since November 2009 because of his ill-health and is considered unlikely to seek re-election.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is from the south and so would not be a candidate under the PDP's policy of alternating power between north and south, with each region having two terms.

Correspondents say IBB, an extremely wealthy northern Muslim, is a polarising figure in Nigerian politics - a man who either inspires great admiration or intense dislike.

He enjoys the goodwill of those he empowered during his eight-year military rule - people who now hold influential positions in business and politics, and could help his presidential bid.

However, some observers argue that under IBB's rule corruption became endemic in Nigeria, the economy deteriorated and democracy suffered.

His promises to hand over to civilian rule came to nothing and his annulment of the 1993 election allowed military strongman Gen Sani Abacha to assume power.

Gen Babangida pulled out of the 2007 election when then President Olusegun Obasanjo instead declared his support for Mr Yar'Adua's bid for the presidency.



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