The die is cast as Atiku faces Buhari — Daily Times Nigeria

…How Ex-VP humbled Tambuwal, Saraki, others, picks PDP presidential ticket
…Rallies other aspirants for support ahead of crucial elections
…Dogara, Wike congratulate ex-VP
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday, humbled Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, among other leading contenders with a landslide victory at the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The Daily Times had earlier predicted that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will pick the party’s presidential ticket ahead of others.

Atiku won the ticket with a total number of 1,532 votes to beat his closest rivals, Aminu Tambuwal, who polled 693 votes and Bukola Saraki, who polled 317 votes.

Trailing behind them were former Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso with 158 votes, Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo with 111 votes, former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido with 96 votes, former Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Makarfi with 74 votes, former Minister of Special Duties,

Kabiru Turaki with 65 votes, former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa with 48 votes, former Senate President, David Mark with 35 votes, former Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang with 19 votes and coming last was the Chancellor of Baze University, Abuja, Senator Datti Baba Ahmed with nine votes.

The voting process started at about midnight when Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa read the voting guidelines and procedure to the hearing of delegates.

Total delegates accredited were 3,221 who voted during the election while 68 votes were voided.

A breakdown of states delegates shows Abia – 106, Adamawa – 76, Akwa Ibom – 153 but 151 voted, Anambra – 54, Bauchi – 73, Bayelsa – 74, Benue – 121, Borno – 57, Cross River – 95, Delta – 141, Edo – 79, Ebonyi – 101, Enugu – 121, Ekiti – 109 but 107 voted, Gombe – 89, Kaduna – 103, Kano – 129 but 128 voted,

Imo – 117 but 104 voted, FCT – 36 but 35 voted, Jigawa – 84, Katsina – 102 but 101 voted, Kebbi – 68 but 65 voted, Kogi – 94 but 93 voted, Kwara – 102, Lagos – 64, Nasarawa – 62, Niger – 83, Ondo – 64, Osun – 88, Ogun – 21, Oyo – 88 but 87 voted, Plateau – 76 but only 74 voted, Rivers – 131, Sokoto – 95, Taraba – 93, Yobe – 59 but only 58 voted and Zamfara – 48.

Akwa Ibom State had highest number of delegates of 153 but 151 voted and FCT had the lowest of 36 delegates though 35 voted.

To ensure credibility of the process, members of the Accreditation Committee led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, moved round the stands to reaffirm numbers of delegates from each state and voting started thereafter in an orderly manner devoid of disruption.

Counting of votes started at about 10.40am on Sunday morning after four hours and twenty minutes of sorting of ballot papers.

Convention Planning Committee chairman and Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who also chaired the electoral committee, announced the results after transparent counting of votes in the presence of agents of the 12 aspirants.

All agents of the presidential aspirants openly confirmed to the whole world that the process was free, fair, transparent and that they were all satisfied with the entire voting processes

In his acceptance speech, an overwhelmed Atiku said he was humbled by the results of the presidential primary election ever conducted by the party since 1999.

He said the result has crowned his resilient strive in five electoral processes to fly the presidential flag of a party to seek election into the most exalted political office in Nigeria.

Dedicating the victory to other aspirants that contested with him, the former vice president sought their support to work with him and to see the mission ahead as that of the party while he assured them that he will listen to advice.

Atiku also paid glowing tribute to leaders and founding fathers of the PDP, most especially former President Olusegun Obasanjo under whose tutelage, he said, he learnt political nitty gritty.

He commended the national convention planning committee led by Governor Okowa and Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi, chairman and secretary respectively for the conduct of a free, fair, credible and transparent primary in the history of the party.

The presidential candidate was also full of praise to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike for a successful hosting of the convention while he appreciated all delegates for peaceful and patriotic conduct while the process lasted.

Speaking on behalf of other aspirants, Saraki said that they have accepted the verdict of the delegates and promised total support for the party’s candidate especially during the campaign process leading to the February 2019 polls.

Saraki also congratulated Atiku over what he called a deserved victory and said the party’s interest to form a national government on May 29, 2019 should be the paramount concern of every PDP member.

Meanwhile, the party has said that 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 party claimed that the process has shown that the electoral umpire has been responsible for the electoral crises at various levels of elections.

It added that the development showed that the citizens, irrespective of their individual and group interests, are capable of holding peaceful and credible elections that meet global standards.

The party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Sunday, said the success of the PDP presidential primary followed its strict adherence to democratic rules and principles of transparency and fairness, which he claimed, has eluded the nation since President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration assumed office.

He said, “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 also urged INEC to stop blaming voters, accept responsibility for its failure to conduct credible elections and learn from the party’s presidential primary, as the nation approach the 2019 general elections.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has congratulated Atiku on his emergence as the presidential flag bearer of the PDP.

The speaker said in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, that the task before Atiku is now to unite with other aspirants to work towards the success of the party in the 2019 elections.

He expressed confidence that with proper strategies and consensus, the party will win the 2019 elections as well as defeat and break the chain of bad leadership in the country.

The speaker said that “one would not be entirely wrong if we say that the problem of Nigeria, or the bane of development of this country is bad leadership.

“Not even the challenge of infrastructure, not the bloodletting we are witnessing in different parts of Nigeria from Zamfara, down to the middle-belt states of Taraba, Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Adamawa and the rest and sundry acts of kidnapping across this country.

“Of course, we have the problem of infrastructure. Those of us delegates who travelled by road from our various states down to Port Harcourt for this exercise will bear an ample testimony to the fact that we are living in a country with decayed infrastructure.

“Obviously, the biggest challenge of them all is leadership. If we have the right leadership, education will not be a problem, infrastructure will not be a problem, getting or inspiring our citizens to live in peace will not be a problem.

“With the right leadership, Nigeria will be the pride of not only the black man, but of the entire world and that is the responsibilty that has fallen on the shoulders of the PDP delegates that we have here today. This is the responsibility that has been outsourced to us by our different citizens from across the states.

“Come February 2019, PDP will lead Nigeria to the transformation that we so dearly desire as citizens of this dear country.”

He commended other aspirants for accepting the outcomes of the exercise, stating that their dedicated involvement is the foundation that will lead the party to victory in the presidential elections.

Also, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has congratulated Atiku Abubakar the candidate of the PDP for the 2019 Presidential Election.

Governor Wike personally extended his congratulations to the former Vice President after his election was announced by the chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.

Wike, who was in company of his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, assured that he would continue to work for the success of the PDP.

Governor Wike thanked all PDP delegates and stakeholders for ensuring a successful and peaceful National Convention in Port Harcourt.

The former Vice President also paid tribute to the Rivers State Governor for his personal commitment to the success of the party.

He also thanked the people of Rivers State for their support for the transparent process.

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