ABUJA, Nigeria — President Goodluck Jonathan, who became leader of Africa's most populous nation only after the death of its elected president, won the endorsement of Nigeria's ruling party Friday morning, clinching a victory that makes him the overwhelming favorite to win April's presidential election.
Jonathan cast himself as the leader able to change a nation blessed by natural resources but cursed by years of military dictatorships. However, the regional and religious tensions that flared up during the presidential primary exist across a country troubled by violence and extremism more than 40 years after the end of its brutal civil war.
As the candidate of the People's Democratic Party, Jonathan can expect the party to use its political connections, money and muscle to propel him to victory in Nigeria's unruly and corrupt electoral system. Since the handover in 1999 from military rule to a civilian government, politics in the West African nation have been dominated by the party.
"We have a chance to transform ourselves to be a great nation in the years ahead," Jonathan told delegates gathered for the convention Thursday night in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.