Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is launching a bid for re-election at a time when Africa's biggest oil producer faces a growing Islamic uprising in the northeast and a slump in oil prices and the national currency.

Jonathan, 57, urged thousands of screaming supporters at a rally Thursday in Lagos to vote for him and "move Nigeria forward."

He touted his successes in promoting agriculture and industry, and privatizing the electricity sector.

Jonathan is considered the frontrunner ahead of the Feb. 14 vote, though his candidacy has split his party. Several governors have defected to an opposition coalition, producing the tightest presidential race since decades of military rule ended in 1994.

Jonathan's chief rival is Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator.