Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar at the weekend edged out 11 other contestants to clinch the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential ticket for the 2019 election, polling 1, 532 out of the 3, 221 votes of delegates.
The primaries held at a colourful national convention of the PDP in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, on Saturday and was brought to a close Sunday afternoon.
According to results announced by the Chairman of the PDP National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Atiku’s closest rival and Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, polled 693 votes.
He stated that Senate President Bukola Saraki garnered 317 votes while the former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, scored 158 votes.
Okowa further announced that Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, got 111 votes; former Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, got 96 votes and former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi picked 74 votes.
He also announced that a former minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, SAN, got 65 votes; former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, polled 48 votes while former Senate President, Senator David Mark, got 35 votes.
Also, former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, and founder of Baze University, Abuja, Dr. Datti Baba-Ahmed, got 19 and five votes respectively. However, the number of voided votes were 68.
With the feat, Atiku secured another opportunity to square up with old political foe and incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, whose nomination was also affirmed at the party convention held in Abuja on Saturday.
Atiku ran against Buhari in the APC primary elections in 2015 and came third behind former governor Rabiu Kwankwaso.
In the 2007 presidential election won by the late Umar Yar’Adua of the PDP, Atiku ran on the ticket of the defunct Action Congress, AC, while Buhari flew the flag of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP.
Some of Abubakar’s challengers including Ibrahim Dankwambo have conceded defeat and congratulated him as well. Speaking on behalf of the other aspirants, Saraki, at the venue of the convention, pledged to support Abubakar.
“You truly deserve this,” he told the former vice president, adding that “on behalf of all of us, we congratulate you.”
Also, another contender for the PDP ticket, Senator David Mark would later issue a statement Mark, pledging to support the former vice president in every way possible so as to bring victory to the PDP and extricate the nation from her present difficult political, economic and social quagmire.
He stated that he had maintained throughout his campaigns that every one of the aspirants was eminently qualified to provide excellent leadership for the country and that as a faithful and steadfast party man, he would support anyone who emerged as PDP’s flag bearer.
In a statement by the spokesman of his campaign organisation, Barr. Ejembi Aba, Mark, a former Senate President, said he “is convinced that it has pleased the Almighty God to allow the former vice president to be the flag bearer of the PDP in the 2019 Presidential Elections and enjoins all Nigerians to support him.
“The distinguished former Senate President congratulates delegates and members of the PDP for their excellent behaviour and peaceful conduct at the just concluded Convention in Port Harcourt.
“By so conducting themselves, members of the PDP have again demonstrated that the PDP is indeed a party of patriots and true democrats.
“Senator Mark extends his deep appreciation to the government and people of Rivers State for being such wonderful hosts.”
Earlier, Abubakar thanked his co-contestants and pledged to call on them in his efforts to help the party win the 2019 presidential election.