Nigeria: North picks candidate to face incumbent

A group of political leaders from Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north has picked a candidate to challenge the incumbent president in upcoming elections.

The Northern Political Leaders Forum says they've chosen Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to stand against President Goodluck Jonathan for the ruling party nomination. The candidacy of Abubakar honors an informal power-sharing agreement in the ruling party that calls for a candidate from the Muslim north. Jonathan is a Christian southerner.

The party's nominee will be strongly favored to win the 2011 poll, as Nigeria is a virtual one-party state.

Nigeria, home to 150 million people, has conducted a string of criticized elections since becoming a democracy more than a decade ago.