Kano (Nigeria), Jan 18 (Agencies): After controversy elicited by Ivory Coast’s incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan may face similar fate as his primary victory led to protests and anger in the country's Muslim north, the first signs of a backlash to his controversial nomination.

Jonathan, a southern Christian, easily won the Peoples Democratic Party primary vote last week, but his candidacy remains controversial because some argue a northern candidate should have been given the nomination.

Hundreds of Muslim youths poured into the streets of the northern cities of Kaduna, Bauchi, Katsina and Hadejia at the weekend in protest, burning PDP flags and membership cards, witnesses said.

The PDP campaign headquarters in the northern city of Sokoto on Sunday burned, but the cause was unclear, local radio reported.

In Katsina, the home state of Jonathan's predecessor, the late Umaru Yar'Adua, fiery sermons were delivered in mosques during Friday prayers urging Muslims not to vote for PDP candidates, local media reported.

Mass text messages on mobile phones have also been sent condemning northern state governors as "the enemies of the north and Islam" for supporting Jonathan instead of Atiku Abubakar, who challenged the president for the nomination.

The controversy stems from an arrangement within the PDP that says its candidates should be rotated between the mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south every eight years—called "zoning."

Jonathan became president in May after the death of Yar'Adua, who had not finished his first term, leading some to argue another northerner should take his place.