Nigeria Election Authority Approves Merger of Opposition Parties

Nigeria’s electoral authority approved a merger of the country’s main opposition parties, paving the way for the alliance to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan at elections due in 2015.

The All Progressive Congress brings together the Action Congress of Nigeria, which dominates southwestern states including Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, and the Congress for Progressive Change, led by northerner Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who lost the last presidential elections.

The coalition also includes the All Nigeria People’s Party, which gleans support from the north, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, based in the country’s southeast.

“The Commission found that the applicant parties have met all statutory requirements for the merger, and have accordingly granted their request,” Abdullahi Kaugama, secretary of the Abuja-based Independent National Electoral Commission, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party has won every election since 1999. Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is almost evenly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south.

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