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Nigeria's Jonathan rejects nomination to contest for president

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2012 file photo, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, visits Koluama 2 village, in Nigeria.   -  
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Sunday Alamba/AP


Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will not seek the ruling party ticket to contest presidential elections next year, his spokesman said.

This follows months of speculation that he was planning to return to national politics.

According to reports, a group of supporters from northern Nigeria bought nomination forms for Jonathan to take part in the ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC) primary elections scheduled for the end of the month,

In a statement on Monday cited by Reuters, Jonathan's spokesman Ikechukwu Eze said the former president did not authorise the purchase of the nomination forms, a requirement for candidates to take part in primary elections.

"While we appreciate the overwhelming request…we wish to state that he has not in any way, committed himself to this request," Eze said.

"We wish to categorically state that Dr Jonathan was not aware of this bid and did not authorise it."

With President Muhammadu Buhari due to step down next year after serving two full terms, the race to succeed him is wide open.

So far, over 20 ruling party candidates have registered to contest the primary vote.

Registration is expected to end on Tuesday and a party committee will screen the candidates, who include vice president Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos state governor and party heavyweight Bola Tinubu, minister of petroleum Timipre Sylva and several government ministers and state governors.

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