(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party has elected Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate for next year’s national election in Africa’s largest economy. 

Abubakar, a former vice president, emerged as the PDP’s flag-bearer with 371 votes at the party’s primaries in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on May 28. He beat 14 other contestants including Nyesom Wike, the governor of oil producing Rivers state, who came second with 237 votes. 

Abubakar, 75, will contend to replace President Muhammadu Buhari who completes his second and final term on May 29 next year. 

Abubakar ran against Buhari as the PDP’s presidential candidate in 2019 and secured 41% of the vote, against Buhari’s 56%. He later mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to protest the outcome. 

Since serving as vice president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo for eight years after Nigeria returned to democracy 1999, Abubakar has unsuccessfully sought to rule Nigeria in the past four elections. 

The ruling All Progressives Congress will hold presidential primaries June 6-8. At least 25 candidates including incumbent Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will compete to become the party’s candidate. Eighteen parties are registered to run in the 2023 national elections. 

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