- How Atiku Defeated Wike, Saraki, Anyim, Others To Emerge PDP Presidential Candidate
- Awaits APC’s Candidate, Ruling Party Advised To Zone Ticket To South To Checkmate Atiku
After a keenly contested presidential primary by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has emerged as the presidential candidate of the party.
Atiku emerged as the candidate of the PDP for the 2023 presidential election at a special national convention organized by the party on Saturday.
He defeated Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and several others to secure the ticket.
This will be the sixth time that the former vice president will be vying for the presidential ticket. Since he entered politics in 1993, Atiku has unsuccessfully contested five times for the Office of President of Nigeria in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries losing to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. He was a presidential candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 presidential election coming in third to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP. He contested the presidential primaries of the PDP during the 2011 presidential election losing out to Goodluck Jonathan. In 2014, he joined the All-Progressives Congress ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries losing to Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party and was the party presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, again losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Last night, at the special national convention of the PDP held at the Velodrome, located inside the M. K. O. Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, he was chosen as the PDP candidate for the 2023 Nigerian presidential election.
Atiku scored 371 votes while Wike polled 237 votes to come second. Saraki garnered 70 votes while Anyim Pius Anyim got 14 votes.
Bala Mohamed and Emmanuel Udom both scored 20 and 38 votes respectively. Mrs Tari Diana Oliver (1) and Sam Ohuabunwa (1) shared the remainder of the valid votes.
Earlier, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal had stepped down for Atiku, a move that strengthened the Adamawa politician’s bid for the ticket.
In his victory speech, Atiku commended the electoral process employed in the primary.
“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 that APC has disunited Nigerians completely.
“I will work to restore unity and bring a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.”
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.
With this victory in the bag, Atiku now awaits the determination of the ruling APC’s Presidential Candidate to know who he will be squaring off against at the election proper.
The emergence of Atiku is already causing ripples in the camps of the APC which according to sources shifted its primary in anticipation of who will emerge as the PDP’s candidate.
With the emergence of Atiku, the ruling party is already mulling the idea of fielding a candidate from the Southern part of the country to checkmate Atiku.
Permutations have it that if the APC fields a candidate from another region of the party other than the south, it can be likened to handing over the presidency to Atiku on a platter of gold.
According to an APC chieftain who does not want his name in print, the failure of the APC to field a candidate from the South will spell doom for the party.
“There is no northern candidate among those that collected form in APC that can defeat Atiku in a free and fair contest. The only person that has the capacity and war chest to match Atiku is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. APC can try any other person at their own peril. Take this to the bank” he stated emphatically.
Meanwhile, Tinubu is already savouring a contest with Atiku if the content of his congratulatory message to Atiku is anything to go by.
In a congratulatory message sent to Atiku for emerging victorious, Tinubu disclosed that he is looking forward to squaring up against him at the elections proper.
“I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the just concluded primary. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent in the coming election. I have known the former Vice President as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country.
“As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across Party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour and strife” he stated.