• says Atiku after beating Saraki, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso, 8 others
By Lateef Ibrahim and Ali Alkali Abuja
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has called on all Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders and members to the party to see his victory at the party’s convention as just the beginning of the hard work ahead.
“We cannot afford to fail Nigerians at this very moment. Nigerians are yearning for the return of PDP to power because they have now compared the administration of PDP and that of APC. They know that under PDP, they had years of prosperity, of unity, of security and of development.”
Atiku, the Waziri of Asamawa, made the call after his emergence as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the 2019 elections at the party’s national convention held in PortHarcort at the weekend.
Atiku Abubakar emerged the presidential flag bearer of the nation’s main opposition party, PDP, after polling a total of 1,532 votes out of the 3,221 total accredited votes at the party’s convention held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers’ state capital.
The former Vice President of the country between 1999 and 2007 defeated eleven other presidential aspirants of the party at the convention which began on Saturday and ended yesterday.
The governor of Sokoto Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal got 693 votes to emerge as runner-up, while the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki polled 317 votes to come distant third.
Other aspirants and votes scored by them were: former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, 158 votes; governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Alhassan Dankwambo, 111 votes; former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, 96 votes: former governor of Kaduna State and erstwhile National Chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, 74 votes; former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, 65 votes; former Senate President, Senator David Mark, 35 votes; former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, 19 votes and former House of Representatives member and founder of Baze University, Abuja, Dr. Datti Baba-Ahmed, 5 votes.
A total of 68 votes were voided.
The Secretary of the PDP National Convention Planning Committee and governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Dave Umahi, announced the results of nine of the aspirants, while the chairman of the committee and governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa announced the results of the remaining three candidates (Tambuwal, Saraki and Atiku).
In his acceptance speech, Alhaji Abubakar thanked the organisers of convention, as well as his other co-contestants, stressing that he requires the assistance and cooperation of others. “I cannot do it alone,” he says.
The presidential candidate said that it was imperative for all in PDP members and supporters to come together for the success of the party at the next year’s elections.
In his words, “I need your assistance; I need understanding; I need your participation. It is not a one man’s job. It is a collective responsibility. And I am prepared to listen to you and together we succeed and after we succeed. We shall all be partners in the success.”
He thanked former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the opportunity he gave him (Atiku) to serve as his vice president.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the orderliness, transparency and credibility of its Presidential Primary serve as direct lesson to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on how elections should be conducted in present day Nigeria.
The PDP, in the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said that the process has shown that the electoral umpire, in its manifest compromises, has been responsible for the electoral crises at various levels of elections. It also shows that our citizens, irrespective of their individual and group interests, are capable of holding peaceful and credible elections that meet global standards.
According to the statement, “The success of our presidential primary followed our strict adherence to democratic rules and principles of transparency and fairness, which has eluded the nation since APC licentious administration assumed office. Simply put, in the PDP Presidential primary, every vote counted.
“Nigerians are, therefore, no longer in doubt that our compromised electoral umpire, under the Buhari administration, is ostensibly culpable for injecting rancorous situations that create openings for violence, manipulations, inconclusive polls and outright rigging of elections.
“We invite the whole world to note that the PDP conducted its Presidential primary and a clear winner, Atiku Abubakar, emerged without any form of disagreements or reliance on heavy security, showing that Nigerians are peaceful, orderly and desirous of credible processes at all levels of political engagement.
“The PDP, therefore, charges INEC to stop blaming voters, accept responsibility for its failure to conduct credible elections and learn from our presidential primary, as we approach the 2019 general elections.
“Finally, the PDP restates its determination to dismantle APC’s rigging machinery and return credible processes in all spheres of our national life,” it said .