A Nigerian leader accused of bribing former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson (D) is now running for president of that country.

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who served under President Olusegun Obasanjo during his eight years in office, told reporters Sunday he would seek the People's Democratic Party's backing to run against President Goodluck Jonathan, according to the Associated Press. Elections could be as early as January.

Abubakar was tied to the Jefferson scandal when a Nigerian businessman testified last year that Abubakar had paid Jefferson $100,000 to make contacts in Washington. Abubakar's lawyers denied the allegations.

Jefferson, a nine-term congressman, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in November after his corruption trial. His seat was filled by Republican Joseph Cao.