Nigeria’s main opposition parties agreed to an alliance to field a joint candidate to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential election, they said in a memorandum.
Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) split last week when one faction declared it no longer supported his government, threatening the 75-year-old former military ruler’s hopes of securing a second term in the February 2019 elections.
The splinter group, known as the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and 37 other political parties are in the new alliance hoping to defeat the APC.
“The parties agreed to ensure the emergence of a joint presidential candidate,” said the memorandum, read out by Tom Ikimi of the PDP.
“The leadership of the parties are committed to work together in a Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP),” it said, adding the modalities of the new alliance still had to be agreed.
The alliance could pose a major threat to Buhari’s re-election bid as rifts in his APC threaten to split support for the president in Nigeria’s powerful patronage networks and among voters ahead of 2019 election.
Buhari announced in April he would seek another term. His candidacy depends on party approval, usually a formality for the incumbent.
Political parties in Nigeria must select candidates for the election between August 18 and October 7.