Nigeria’s former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has for the second straight time, clinched the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after defeating Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Bukola Saraki, among others.
Atiku Abubakar was declared the winner in the early hours of Sunday after the conclusion of vote counting and will now be running for the position of President for the sixth time.
Mr Atiku scored 371 votes. His closest challenger, Wike, polled 237 votes. Saraki polled 70 votes.
Udom Emmanuel (38), Bala Mohammed (38), Anyim Pius Anyim (14), Mrs Tari Diana Oliver, the only female aspirant polled 1 vote and Sam Ohuabunwa (1) shared the remainder of the valid votes.
Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose; Ovation Magazine publisher, Chief Dele Momodu; Mr. Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu recorded zero vote. Twelve votes were declared invalid.
Before the voting commenced, Sokoto State’s governor, Aminu Tambuwal gave other aspirants a shocker by stepping down his aspirations for Atiku Abubakar, asking his supporters to vote for Atiku. A decision which was believed to be the decider at the elections.
According to Governor Tambuwal, he came to the conclusion to step down following consultations with “so many leaders and my supporters.”
He said: “In view of the situation of our country and the need for us in our party to minimise rancour and jostling for power, in any case, it is not always about an individual; it must always be about our country.
I have come to the conclusion that to the glory of God Almighty, and from the results of what we are seeing throughout the country – millions of Nigerians suffering, and the need for us to close ranks in the party, and as one of the leaders of this party – I have come to a patriotic conclusion to step down my aspiration.
“Not only that, I would appeal to my supporters to take this in good strides and in the interest of national unity and patriotism, and not only that, those who are delegates here should vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,” he said.
Displeased with the results of the elections, Governor Nyesom Wike, the runner-up, was seen walking out of the venue at the moment Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was proceeding to the podium to deliver his acceptance speech.
Atiku however pledged that he will work to restore unity and bring a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.
“Today we are making another history,” he said. “A history which we believe will bring about fundamental changes and also in our political processes.”
He reiterated that his campaign will be built on five fundamentals, including a pledge to unify the country.
“I pledge to unify this country,” he said. “That’s why I refer to myself as a unifier.
“The reason why I feel that unity is important is because APC has disunited Nigerians completely.
“I will work to restore unity and bring a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.”
Mr Atiku vowed to decisively deal with the country’s security challenges and confront its economic problems.
“The PDP made Nigeria one of the most prosperous countries in Africa,” he said. “We implemented economic reforms. The APC wiped out all those gains.”
He also called on his fellow contestants to work and cooperate with him.