ABUJA - Veteran Nigerian politician and former Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu has said it is his turn to lead Africa's most populous nation after his backing helped propel President Muhammadu Buhari to power seven years ago.

Nigeria will go to the polls to choose a new president next February. Buhari's ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will pick its presidential candidate at a three-day convention starting on Monday.

Buhari has not named a potential successor for when he steps down after the eight years in office he is allowed under the constitution, but has asked APC state governors to support his choice.

Tinubu, a powerful political figure from Lagos, merged his party with Buhari's in 2013 to form the APC, which finally delivered victory to Buhari, who had lost in three previous presidential elections.

In a speech broadcast on local TV on Friday, the 70-year-old Tinubu told a party meeting in Ogun state that he had supported Buhari on the understanding that he would contest the 2023 presidential election.

"It is my time, I'm educated, I'm experienced. I have been serving you (Buhari) for a long time, bring me (the) presidency, it is my turn," said Tinubu.

"If not for me that stood behind Buhari he wouldn't have become the president."

A presidential spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are seen as frontrunners in the presidential primary, which will be contested by 23 candidates in total.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Alison Williams)