Port Harcourt, Nigeria: Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has selected Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as it’s Presidential candidate to face off against incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari (APC) in next year’s presidential election.
Other aspirants were Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo; a former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa.
Others are the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki; a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark; a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (SAN) and a former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jona Jang.
Also in the race are, a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido and Dr. Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Atiku Abubakar polled a total 1532 votes to beat his closest rival, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal, who got 693 votes.
The primary, which started on Saturday night, ended with vote sorting, counting and the eventual declaration on Sunday morning in Port Harcourt, capital city of oil rich Rivers state.
72-year-old Atiku Abubakar, a businessman, who served as the second elected vice-president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), with President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Abubakar worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to become the Deputy Director before he retired in April 1989 to go into politics.
He ran for the office of governor in the Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) in 1991, and for the Presidency in 1993, placing third after MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries.
In 1998 he was elected Governor of Adamawa State. While still Governor-Elect he was selected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo as his running mate.
The duo went on to win elections in February 1999, and Abubakar was sworn-in as Nigeria’s second democratically elected vice president on 29 May 1999.
Abubakar’s second term as Vice President was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo.
Abubakar ran for presidency on the platform of the Action Congress, having quit the PDP on account of his issues with President Obasanjo.
Abubakar lost the election, placing third after Umaru Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
He joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and sought the party’s ticket in 2014 but lost to President Muhammadu Buhari at the primary held in Lagos.
Abubaker defected again in May to PDP where he on Sunday clinched the ticket to tackle incumbent President Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad and founder of the American University of Nigeria
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Senate President Bukola Saraki made 11th hour pitches to woo the undecided among the 3,600 delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party attending the national convention in Port Harcourt to elect a presidential candidate.
Atiku promised to build Nigeria’s economy by creating wealth and jobs if elected to represent the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019 election.
He also said he would provide healthcare to Nigerians.
‘’Four years ago, the people of Nigeria voted for change; today they are not happy with the change they received; government has become less transparent.
”I ask for your support in picking the PDP ticket; together we can truly get Nigeria working again.
Sen. Bukola Saraki urged all the 3, 600 delegates at the convention to vote for him.
He stated that the people need a leader like him in the 21 century, adding that poverty is affecting Nigeria but
”Unfortunately poverty does not know party, ethnicity or religion.”
He blamed issues of poverty on what he alleged to be APC’s poor governance and appealed to the delegates to vote for him for a government of inclusion which according to him, is what Nigeria needs now.
”If you want a 21st century leader, you will vote for me. A vote for me is a vote for the youth, for inclusive governance,” he said.
Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo said that he has solutions to Nigeria’s problems, adding, ‘’I am highly experienced to lead Nigeria as a president.
Attahiru Bafarawa said that he would implement the resolutions of the past national conferences and would take Nigeria to greater heights.
Jonah Jang pledged quality leadership and to right the wrongs of past leadership while securing Nigeria at all sphere.
Datti Ahmed spoke about his capacity to provide quality leadership.
Aspirants were late in arriving the venue due to their inability to arrive at a consensus candidate or those who should step down, to reduce the contestants.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, using his crystal ball, has predicted that any candidate elected out of the 13 at the Peoples Democratic Party convention will be the next President of Nigeria.
Jonathan who spoke at the convention in Port Harcourt early on Sunday said that all the aspirants are qualified to lead the country, having interacted with them since 1999.
According to him, the greatest problem with Nigeria is that of unity and urged Nigerians to elect a leader that would unite the county.
All the aspirants are eminently qualified to lead the country and urged the delegates to select a person who will bring Nigeria together.
”PDP is clearly the party to take over power. ‘If you select one among the aspirants, l’m sure the person will make Nigeria proud,” he said.
Jonathan said that all the aspirants during their meeting had pledged a commitment to support whoever emerges as the PDP presidential flag bearer.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, Prince Uche Secondus on Saturday enumerated the party’s ‘success stories’ since 2015, and declared that it has graduated from being an opposition into a ‘ruling party in-waiting’.
Secondus made the claim in an address at the opening of the PDP 2018 Special National Convention which he also declared open on Saturday in Port Harcourt.
Secondus, who expressed pleasure in welcoming members from all over Nigeria to Port Harcourt, said that the subject of this year’s national convention was: “Nigerians Take Back Your Country’’.
The party boss also boasted that “today PDP is now in control of the leadership of the National Assembly, adding that “the convention is a crucial stage in PDP’s “ unstoppable march to regain power’’.
He said that the selection of aspirants for the convention was done through Indirect Primaries, adding that the convention would be orderly, fair and transparent.
He said the party was determined to organise a convention that would remain a reference point for other parties
He also recalled that the party gathered in Jos, Plateau, about 20 years ago for a similar convention to herald a new democracy in Nigeria.
Secondus said the party started the Contributory Pension Scheme and reformed the Electoral Process, among others.
Secondus, who said the party members had “Indeed learnt our lessons’’, added that the PDP had “graduated from an opposition party in 2015 to a ruling party in waiting’’ in 2018.
He also assured that the party would ensure Nigeria’s unity, secure Nigerians, educate our youths, reduce poverty, return Nigeria to the path of economic growth and run an inclusive government if it wins the presidential poll in 2019.
“The choice you make today will go a long way to rescue our nation from the APC governance,’’ he said.
In his address, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee also assured that the electoral process would be transparent.
The convention which was declared open at about 8.38 p.m, was watched by Prof. Anthonia Sibine, a representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, delegates ratified President Buhari’s candidacy at its National Convention in Abuja on Saturday.
Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman formally presented President Buhari to the convention as the party’s 2019 presidential candidate, amidst cheers from delegates and other party members.
“I hereby formally present President Muhammadu Buhari as the candidate of our party for the 2019 presidential election to everyone here and to Nigerians, and by the grace of God, victory shall be ours,”he said.
Present at the convention, were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC Governors, National Assembly members and party delegates from the 36 states and FCT.
Image : Muhammadu Buhari (left) , Atiku Abubakar (Right)