By Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has emerged the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after a keenly contested primary at the National Convention of the party held at the Adokiye Amasiemeka Stadium, Igwuruta-Ali, Port Harcourt.
He polled 1532 votes to defeat 11 other aspirants in an election that spanned Saturday night till about 10.40am Sunday when the results were announced.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, came second with 693 votes, while Senate President, Bukola Saraki, came third with 317 votes.
Abubakar will lead the main opposition party, PDP in its bid to reclaim power which it lost to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. The 2019 presidential election will pitch him against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
The 2019 presidential contest will be Abubakar’s fourth attempt to become Nigeria’s president, having previously made a failed bids for the office in 2007, 2011 and 2105.
The pattern of the votes showed that Abubakar whose home state is Adamawa had the wider support of the 3600 delegates from all the country who voted at the election.
Atiku served as vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 on the platform of the PDP with President Olusegun Obasanjo, is emrgence as the candidate of the PDP is a dream come true He 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 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) presidential primary.
In 1998, he was elected Governor of Adamawa State. While still Governor-elect, he was selected by the 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.
Atiku’s second term as vice president was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo.
He 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.
1. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar – 1532
2. Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal – 693
3. Sen. Bukola Saraki – 317
4. Rabiu Kwakwanso – 158
5. Ibrahim Dankwanbo – 111
6. Dr. Sule Lamido – 96
7. Sen. Ahmed Markarfi – 74
8. Kabiru Turaki (SAN) – 65
9. Attahiru Bafarawa – 48
10. Sen. David Mark – 35
11. Sen. David Jang – 19
12. Sen. Datti Ahmed – 5