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2019: Yakasai Implicitly Endorses Atiku For President |The Republican News

 

Okwe Obi, Abuja 

A founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, has tacitly endorsed the candidature of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Mr Peter Obi, ahead of 2091 presidential election.

The 92-year-old politician spoke in Abuja, at the launch of a book entitled ‘The Coming Revolution: A Manifesto for National Greatness,” authored by Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher.

Yakasai, who did not mention Atiku and Obi names, said it would be an opportunity for the North East and South East to have a taste of the proverbial national cake.

“2019 would be a very important election in our history. It would afford a very good section of the country an opportunity to have its own share of the national cake. I’m talking about our brethren from the south eastern part of Nigeria.

“There is also a section in the North that has never produced a president; that is the North East. It has produced a prime minister once. That was under a different constitution. The South East and North East have never produced a president for Nigeria.

“If it happens that the running mate of Buhari is able to win the election after him, and if God grants him the wish of ruling for eight years, it may likely come back to the North East. If you add it up it would come to 20 years.

“And it would go back to the South and anybody can win because it would be open to South East, South West and South-South. If by whatever reason power stays in the North, after the South West has ruled for eight years it would be 20.

“It would go to the South and stay there for 8 years. If it is the wish of God for the South East to get it, that is how long they will wait for it,” he added.

He lamented the constant change of political parties by politicians connotes the lack of integrity.   (The Sun)

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2019: Only God Can Stop Buhari From Winning – Bature |The Republican News

“Only God can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 presidential election. You will remember this day… only God will stop Buhari and not Atiku Abubakar.”

Gyang Bere, Jos

 

Rufus Bature, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and candidate for Plateau North Senatorial District, believes that only God can stop President Muhammadu Buhari from winning his election and not PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. He said it is a taboo for his people in Northern Plateau to be refugees and enslaved in their own land.

What are your fears about President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid?

Honestly, I do not have any fear. Only God can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 presidential election. You will remember this day that I said only God will stop Buhari and not Atiku Abubakar. Buhari will win his election without any obstruction. I am not a Prophet but from what I see, and what I hear, Buhari will win the election. I have the confidence that Buhari will get more votes in Plateau and in all parts of the country than he got in 2015, because different groups are mobilising for massive votes for him and the APC in 2019. I have not seen anybody that will thwart his re-election, not even Atiku Abubakar.

APC is swimming in trouble waters following the outcome of its party primaries where some governors have insisted that the national chairman must resign, don’t you think that it is a sign of defeat for the party ahead of the 2019 general elections?

You should expect that everybody will want to belong to a house that is very busy and if that is so, you will expect these intrigues, squabbles and blabbing in the APC. But at the end of the day, I am assuring you that APC will come out stronger and victorious in 2019.

With this crisis, don’t you think your National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole should resign?

Why should he resign? Unless they have found him wanting with clear cases of mismanagement, clear cases of corruption or cases of ineptitude. If he is not found wanting in any of these why should he resign? One thing with him is that as a Labour man, he has been so combative to an extent that people are not comfortable with him but I believe that he should give a little ear to whoever has a complaint. Like thepresident said, he should not bar people from going to court, if you genuinely feel that you are aggrieved, you can seek for redress in the court of law because that is what our constitution says. The Constitution of APC cannot be above the Constitution of Nigeria; therefore, I agree with Mr. President that whoever feels aggrieved should seek redress in any court of law.

Lalong came into power in 2015 on the basis of protest votes, do you still believe that he will win in 2019?

I am very optimistic that APC will form the government in Plateau State, it will form the government at the national level and I am optimistic that I will be part of the government that will be formed at the national level. We are all human beings, nobody is 100 percent right, we have our weaknesses; we are looking at these weaknesses and trying to make amend. But I believe rational thinking people and people who are objective on the Plateau, considering the circumstances that we met when we came on board and looking at what this government has done, will treat us fairly, we need to be looked at from our performance and not from any sentimental issue or bias point of view.

Most Plateau people and the Beroms who are the majority in the Northern zone are affected by killer herdsmen attacks and they appear not too comfortable with the APC government, how will your party win election when the people appear angry with APC?

We started APC on the Plateau together with the current governor, I know how many people voted APC from my own constituency, despite that and to be magnanimous in victory, Governor Lalong appointed me as Secretary to the Government, if it was just because of the vote that my people gave, I wouldn’t have been the Secretary to the Government. One of the first thing we did together was to look at this issue of crisis, and the first person that the governor consulted was the Gbong Gwom Jos. The second Group of people was the Fulani, we started a meeting, which culminated into a committee that was set up; it sat for months and brought up a very germane recommendations and the government started implementing some of the recommendations, which brought peace until the recent carnage.

What happened in the state is like a baby that is sucking breast and all of a sudden he was pull off the breast, you will certainly hear a striking cry, that is what happened. My other folks who were predominantly in PDP never believed that any government can emerge outside PDP, they were not ready for anything call hand-over, they were not ready to believe that it was not a PDP person that was going to emerge, therefore whatever that this government is doing that is good, they have never seen the good in it. If the government that I served were not magnanimous in victory, we would not have the appointment that we have. I have the record because I was the Secretary to the Government, all the political appointments that were made; even though they might not be quality but quantity wise, no single tribe on the Plateau has up to half of the appointments that the Berom people have, I stand to be corrected.

The governor was magnanimous enough in the Northern zone to allow me to nominate people into positions of Special Adviser, Senior Special Assistants, Board members, commissioners and so on. Infact, in Berom land, 95 percent of the appointees were nominated by me. We have built roads that are spread all over the local government areas that did not even vote for him. The governor said we are all Plateau people and therefore, they should benefit. Sometimes I feel so sad when people say this government has not done anything for Berom people, it is very glaring that this government is an all inclusive one. Lalong’s government is not anti-Berom.

At what point will you say this issue of land grabbing started in your home, Barkin-Ladi?

It has been there since 2001, there are many communities that were sacked and the people never went back to their land. So it is not today, it did not start under this government; if you go to Riyom Local Government area, you will see the same thing. This thing started right from the onset and because it was not nip in the bud, it continued unabated. When you go to Gashish you will see what I am talking about, I wept the day I went there. It was not in 2015 that this land grabbing started, it has been there for a very long time.

But do you believe that the Military are colluding with the Fulani herdsmen to attack your people just like Gen. TY Danjuma (Rtd) alleged in Taraba?

I have heard people saying that but I don’t have any incontrovertible evidence to prove that the Military is colluding, I don’t have any evidence. People might have their own evidence but I as a person don’t have any evidence.

What do you suggest the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari should do to the people of the area before 2019?

I appeal to him to do what he has said through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he came to sympathise with the victims of the crisis and the president repeated it when he came to Jos recently. He said nobody who has been chased out of his community that will not go back unless he does not want; he is making every effort to make sure that people go back to their communities. One thing I want to emphasise, is that we must learn to respect, tolerate and understand one another, it is very important. When the lands were grabbed the other time, nobody made any effort to reclaim and take the people back to their communities.

You mean the PDP government did not make effort to take displaced persons back to their homes in the state?

Yes, of course. Nobody made any effort; today President Buhari is trying to take these people back to their communities even those who left since 2001 but some people are being very critical about it. It is unfortunate that some are saying is it only now that the government is concerned about the people; we are aware that things have happened, what did the leaders do during that time that the people were first displaced? I don’t want to start making comparison, all I want is that the people should be treated fairly, we should do justice, whether there was justice or no justice, we will be accountable for our own period. Whatever happened during the PDP period, is for them and will be judge by what they did, but as far as we are concern, we are doing what we believe is right, we are doing what we believe is just.

Plateau North Senatorial Zone is predominantly PDP, how do you intend to emerge APC Senator from the zone?

I want to contest that presumption that the Northern zone is predominantly PDP. If you look at the combination of members of the House of Assembly, about four of them are APC and four of them are PDP; for House of Representatives, out of the three of them, two are APC, while the senator is PDP and the governor is APC. APC is the home of Plateau North as far as I know. PDP was the government in power during the 2015 elections and the governor was from the Northern zone that was why some people thought that PDP was strong in the zone. But with what is on ground now, APC is in total control of the zone and the 2019 election result will show clearly that Northern zone is predominantly APC.

You resigned your position as Secretary to Government of Plateau State, to run for the senate. What is the motivation?

As a human being, everybody should have an ambition; I have had the opportunity of serving Plateau State in the House of Assembly for eight year, representing my constituency, Barkin-Ladi. My performances at the House of Assembly then are there for people to talk about; and having served in that capacity and not just a member of the House but as a leader of the minority in the House, I did my utmost best. We were the Guinea pigs that came in, in 1999 after a lonely political arena in Nigeria; with robust workshops and seminars held within and outside Nigeria, to give us a good start. I feel that the knowledge I acquired then while in the House is still with me and therefore I feel I should deploy the knowledge at a higher level. The experience which I had while in the House of Assembly for eight years and having been out of government for another eight years and returning to serve as Secretary of Government now in a ruling government; were the things that propelled me to seek for the position of Senator to represent Northern Zone of Plateau State.   (The Sun)

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2019: Obasanjo Slams Buhari Again, Refutes Having No Preferred Candidate |RN

                                                   Buhari, Obasanjo

Niyi Odebode  and Tunji Bosun 

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday denied a report which indicated that he had dropped his support for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

He faulted the report which also stated that he had no preferred presidential candidate. Obasanjo said only a fool would sit on the fence.

The ex-President said these in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, made available to journalists in Abeokuta.

In  the  statement titled,  “2019 elections and reports of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s neutrality”, Obasanjo said he was in Cairo to attend the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair  where  he acted as  the Chairman of the Advisory Council when his attention was drawn to the report (not in The PUNCH) with the headline, “Atiku: Obasanjo shifts political gear to neutral”

Obasanjo said in the statement that Nigeria was being destroyed by incompetence, lack of focus and nepotism.

He said while he chose not to use the Owu convention in Iwo, Osun State on Saturday as a platform for a  political campaign, he adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu sub-ethnic group.

According to the statement, the former President “ believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise”.

The statement said,  “It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family.

“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former President said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impose any candidates on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who would drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now.

“Chief Obasanjo’s statement did not suggest his neutrality. In fact, the former President believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise.

“The former President reassures Nigerians that he will not sit on the fence when he needs to be out and active for people to know where he stands in the best interest of Nigeria.

“Chief Obasanjo reaffirms that he is on the side of what is best for Nigeria and what we have currently, at the helm of affairs of Nigeria,   is not the best for Nigeria, so nobody should fool himself or deceive others about Chief Obasanjo’s position.

“The former President further urges Nigerians, who are victims of what we have for now, to stop just complaining and go out to get beneficial change.

“They must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive, just complaining and complacent and allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.

“If they do not become active and get the much-needed change of the current administration to a government that will improve the economy, regain the confidence of investors and generally drive growth, development and economic progress with security, what is coming will be much worse than what Nigerians currently suffer.

“On his part, Chief Obasanjo will remain consistent in speaking out whenever and wherever he sees evil as he is known to do no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody should manipulate Chief Obasanjo’s position, particularly on the 2019 presidential election and what he said in Iwo,  to perpetrate or perpetuate continued destruction of our country, “the statement said.

Obasanjo, had in a letter to the President in January this year, urged Buhari not to seek re-election. He had accused the President of incompetence in many areas, including the economy.

The ex-President had stated, “There are other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on the performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest.”

Urging the President to shelve his 2019 presidential ambition, he stated, “I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.”

After the emergence of his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate, Obasanjo in October endorsed the ex-vice-president.

The endorsement followed a peace meeting brokered by the founder of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo; an Islamic preacher,  Ahmed Gumi; the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah;   a  chieftain of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the PDP National Chairman,  Uche Secondus.

The relationship between  Obasanjo and Atiku had become frosty towards the twilight of the Obasanjo administration which ran from 1999 till 2007.

There were allegations that Atiku had worked against the third term agenda purportedly mooted by his then boss. Obasanjo too had since not supported all Atiku’s earlier efforts at becoming the president.

Obasanjo, had in an exclusive interview with Premium Times on August 3 after his arrival from Kigali, said God would not forgive him if he supported Atiku.

“How can I be on the same side with Atiku?”  Obasanjo was quoted to have asked. “To do what?  If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support,” he said.

But on October 11, 2018, after the peace meeting, Obasanjo said he forgave Atiku in the interest of the nation.

He stated, “Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, on his success at the recent PDP primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.

“Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo.  In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku.

“And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has rediscovered and repositioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the party, the government and the country.

“I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.

“From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.

“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on a daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you.” (Punch)

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God Will Punish, Obasanjo, Atiku By February Next Year, Says Oshiomhole |RN

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

 

National Chairman, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, has said that God will punish former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, when President Muhammadu Buhari defeats them at the 2019 presidential election.

The former Edo State governor, who spoke to newsmen after receiving APC women leaders from Edo State, who paid him a solidarity visit in his office in Aso drive, in Abuja, also reminded Obasanjo that he swore that God should punish him if he ever supported his former deputy, Atiku, to become the president.

He further noted that the ruling party is much more stronger in Ogun and Imo states despite grievances of their governors, Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha, respectively, stressing that APC will work hard to deliver the governorship candidates of the party without them.

Asked his fears for 2019 elections, he said: “I will rather tell you my hopes and that is that Buhari will win by getting more votes than he got before. Nobody has said that Buhari is a thief, but who said that the other person is a thief was the person he worked with.

“If you are working with me and I said that you are thief, that God will punish me if I support you and when you are confused because your supply line has been chopped off and you enter a new deal, come back to say I now support you, that God you invoked with your name to punish you if you support that person is about to go to work and He will go to work in February next year. He will punish you thoroughly and punish the person he is supporting in favour of Nigeria,” he said.

While describing the governors as poor students of history who had forgotten where they came from to join the APC, Oshiomhole said argued that some APC governors have no electoral values any longer.

“Our popularity in Imo and Ogun states are much higher. What you don’t know and Nigerians always made me surprise by thinking that once you are a governor, you have electoral value. Yes, we have overwhelming majority of the APC governors with electoral value but we also have others without electoral values.

“I can concretely tell you today that in Imo state, APC will win more votes. As I said, it is about numbers and my focus is about the ordinary Imo electorate because the governor, his Commissioner for Happiness and the son in-law have only one vote on that day.

“But those mechanics, market women, school teachers and workers whose salaries are unpaid for years that have the same weight of votes. They are excited about the new possibilities of a new government coming with new idea free from all the encumbrances of the present system. I am very confident in Imo.

“Also, in Ogun state, don’t forget that the vice president is from Ogun state. We cannot focus on one person and not on the other. Ogun is one of the most enlightened state in the country and that is where Chief Awolowo came from. “They have a huge history in a political kingdom headed by one person.

When a child ran out of his father’s house to bear a new name according to history and the Bible, he returned when the weather thoroughly beat him as a prodigal son. That is why APC has prodigal sons. Those who think that their political future is tied to are poor students of history.

“They forget that some of these people thinking that they are invisible have run election before and lost deposit until they abandoned their parties and joined us. If they return back, history will repeat itself,” he said.   (The Sun)

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Atiku Not Buhari’s Match, Will Suffer Bloodied Nose – Dambazau |The Republican News

                                            Atiku and Buhari

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

 

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, has said former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku is no match for President Muhammadu Buhari and will suffer a bloodied nose in the 2019 presidential election.

Atiku is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party while the incumbent President, Buhari is of the All Progressives Congress.

Addressing journalists at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, Dambazau said while the President had used his position in and out of office to better the lives of people, Atiku had not impacted lives outside his immediate circle.

He spoke through his Senior Special Assistant and former Chairman, House Committee on Security, Aliyu Gebi.

He said, “In this race (2019), there is only one gladiator and that gladiator is the current President. So, there is no contender.  (Atiku) by saying this is the toughest election in the history of Nigeria, yes toughest for him, certainly not for the President.

“As far as I’m concerned, this will be the easiest election in the history of Nigeria as far as President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC are concerned; he (Atiku) will not even win Adamawa much less Taraba or Gombe and then come to Bauchi. We will ensure we do whatever we can, this will be the last Atiku’s outing and he will suffer a bloodied nose by the grace of God.”

Dambazau said the country had decimated Boko Haram, adding that the insurgency was in his last days despite the recent attack on Melete where soldiers were killed.

The former Chief of Army Staff said with the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gbenga Olonisakin, taking a centre stage and promoting cohesion among the service chiefs, it was a matter of time for the insurgency to be completely wiped off.   (Punch)

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Buhari Hasn’t Run Any Successful Business Ever – Atiku |The Republican News

Buhari-Atiku2

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Preisdent Muhammadu Buhari

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

 

The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of never being a successful businessman.

In a statement from his media office in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku said, “The open, democratic and free and fair election (something alien to the APC, according to Buhari’s own wife) on Sunday of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, as the Presidential candidate for the PDP has clearly left the APC in a state of panic and confusion.

“On Sunday, the Buhari Campaign Organisation launched the first weak salvo. And on Monday, the APC’s National Publicity Secretary unleashed his own knee-jerk reaction, accusing Atiku of being desperate.

“Our response to the APC is to ask who is desperate between a Muhammadu Buhari who said, ‘If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood’ and an Atiku Abubakar who said, ,‘Love and peace should not only be preached, but must also be put into practice for the sake of sustaining the peace in our land’?

“It is left for Nigerians to judge, but even a blind person can see that Nigeria has been ‘soaked in blood’ ever since she was unfortunate enough to have fallen under the leadership of a man whose words are destructive and never productive.”

In his response to the APC’s demand for Atiku’s scorecard in public office, the statement said, “Some of Atiku Abubakar’s achievements as Nigeria’s Vice President are that as head of the National Council of Privatisation, he superintended over the GSM revolution that saw Nigeria go from 50,000 to 100 million GSM lines, has added 500,000 direct jobs to the Nigerian economy and attracted $27bn to our GDP. Our question to President Buhari and the APC is how many jobs have they created?

“Another of Abubakar’s achievements is the successful privatisation of many public enterprises that hitherto consumed government resources without yielding a profit. In response, we ask President Buhari how many loopholes in public expenditure has he plugged? The spectacular failure of the 419 Nigeria Air is still fresh in the memory of Nigerians.

“Finally, the APC spokesman had the guts to question His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar’s source of wealth.

“We wish to remind APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, that Atiku Abubakar is not like President Buhari who has never run a successful private business throughout his life.

“Unlike Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar is an expert job creator who has founded many successful and thriving businesses including the American University of Nigeria, Yola; a microfinance bank that has moved 45,000 families out of poverty and Rica Gado, a livestock feed company that has significantly reduced instances of herdsmen/farmers clashes by providing a business-friendly solution instead of asking Nigerians to give up their lands for cattle ranching or face death, as the Buhari government did.”

The statement added that unlike President Buhari, Atiku does not believe Nigerian youths are lazy. “How could he when 25,000 out of his 50,000 employees are youths,”? he asked.

It urged the Buhari Presidency and the APC to mention even one successful private endeavour that the President had successfully run.

“And by private enterprises, we are not referring to 150 cows that never increase in number, year in year out,” the statement added.    (Punch)

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2019 Presidential: Atiku Begins Search For Running Mate |The Republican News

Niyi Odebode, Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Ihuoma Chidozie, Simeon Utebor, Adelani Adepegba, Chukwudi Akasike, Leke Baiyewu, Etim Ekpimah, Olaleye Aluko, John Charles, Peter Dada, and  Justin Tyopuusu

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday at the main bowl of Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, won the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Hardly did Atiku emerge as the winner than the talk of his running mate started.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that the search might have been limited to the South-East region of the country.

However, in the election, Atiku polled 1,532 votes out of total of 3,221 votes, representing almost 50 per cent of the entire delegates’ votes.

His closest rival, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State scored 693 votes, while the President of the Senate, Olusola Saraki, came third with 317 votes.

A former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, scored 158 votes; a former Governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido, polled 96 votes, while a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki (SAN) scored 65 votes.

A former National Caretaker Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, polled 74 votes; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, scored 48 votes; a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, polled 35 votes; a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, scored 19  votes, while Dr Datti Ahmed scored five votes.

How Atiku won

Facts have emerged that Atiku won the primary through block votes from the South-East, some states in the South-South and North-East.

It was also gathered that there was no state in the country where Atiku did not score considerable number of votes.

It was learnt that Atiku was not the favourite of some governors in the South-South who had a soft spot for Tambuwal, to become the standard bearer of the PDP.

It was, however, gathered that the alleged gang-up against Atiku from emerging the candidate of the party was thwarted by delegates’ votes from some of the states from other regions, apart from the South-South.

The National Legal Adviser, Peoples Equality Congress for Atiku Abubakar, Mr Agu Aguma, and a leader of PEC, Chief Bestman Festus, said Atiku had proved that he was an experienced politician who understood political intrigues and horse trading.

Aguma said Atiku who knew that some persons were working against his candidacy decided to engage states without PDP governors to drive his ambition.

The legal practitioner said it was good that Atiku won the PDP primary, noting that he was the most qualified and experienced to defeat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

He said, “Although some interests, including governors, had wanted an alternative candidate, the programme Atiku outlined for the socio-economic development of the country, his restructuring agenda, coupled with his good plans for the youth, job creation, stood him out.”

Investigations by our correspondents revealed that nearly all delegates from Ebonyi State voted for the former Vice-President.

It was also learnt that Atiku and Tambuwal shared the votes of the delegates from Enugu State.

However, Atiku beat Tambuwal in the allocation of the votes of delegates from Imo, Abia and Anambra states, according to sources among the South-East contingent.

One of the delegates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tambuwal’s closeness to some governors in the zone was what prevented Abubakar from recording a clean sweep of the votes of the South-East delegates.

“Most of us from the South-East cast our votes for Atiku Abubakar, I know for a fact that Ebonyi delegates voted massively for him.

“Atiku got the backing of majority of the delegates from the other states in the zone, although Tambuwal was able to record a considerable number of votes.

“One of the governors (in the South-East) has a close relationship with Tambuwal and that had a major influence on the way delegates from the state voted, otherwise Abubakar would have recorded a clean sweep of the votes from the zone,” the delegate said.

He added that alleged cash inducement of the delegates by the aspirants before the commencement of voting had no effect on the outcome of the convention.

Why Tambuwal failed

Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Tambuwal, who had been projected to win, was rejected at the convention by the delagates because of the alleged overbearing attitude of the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike.

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives was also said to have failed to break into the ranks of the Board of Trustees of the party.

“When the BoT asked its members not to ally with any presidential candidate,  Atiku appointed some members of the board into his campaign organisation,” a member of the board told one of our correspondents.

Another source said that the insistence by Wike that the convention must hold in Port Harcourt despite opposition by some members of the National Executive Committee of the party, made those opposed to Tambuwal to increase in number.

It was learnt that some delegates and their sponsors, extended their anger at Wike to Tambuwal.

The source said, “Some believed that Wike wanted to impose a presidential candidate on the party.

“Some northern delegates met and vowed not to allow southerners to impose a candidate on them.”

A source also said that his ability to stand against the ruling All Progressives Congress and his deep purse to finance the presidential election worked for Atiku.

A top source said, “We all know that Atiku can considerably finance the campaign with little donations from party members.  We don’t think Tambuwal has such capacity.”

Search for Vice Presidential candidate begins

But hardly did Atiku emerge as the winner than the talk of his running mate started.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that the search may have been limited to the South-East region of the country.

However, some states in the five states that made up the zone might have reportedly been disqualified.

For instance, Anambra, where Senator Ben Obi who was a former running mate to Atiku hailed from, was said to have been disqualified.

The reason, according to authoritative sources, was because the state had produced two former speakers, two former presidents of the Senate, one vice president and a President.

Also, Enugu State which is a PDP-controlled state, was said to have produced a former national chairman of the PDP.

It was also reportedly argued that the state had produced the deputy president of the Senate for the past seven and half years.

For Imo State, the argument for its non-consideration was that it had produced a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and had also produced a president of the Senate.

The race, according to sources close to the party,  is between Abia and Ebonyi states.

South-West not foreclosed

However, another source said the search for a suitable running mate had not been completely taken out of the South-West.

He added that the party would not impose any candidate on Atiku, saying that the PDP would only serve as a guide, by “putting into consideration all political variables that would enable us win in 2019.”

Nigerians yearning for PDP, says Atiku

Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech, Atiku, said Nigerians were now aware of the capabilities of the APC.

The presidential candidate explained that the APC administration had mismanaged the economy of Nigeria, adding that the PDP must be more committed to the country’s growth.

Atiku expressed the need for the party to be committed to solving the challenges facing Nigeria as a country.

He said it was not enough for the PDP to identify the problems plaguing the nation, adding that there must be commitment towards resolving them.

Atiku said, “Nigerians are now yearning for the PDP to return to power because they have been able to test the APC and they know the difference. We have been able to identify the challenges afflicting the people and we must proffer solutions to them.

“It is not only one man’s job and that is why we must work together to achieve our goal.”

Maintaining that the PDP must not be intoxicated by power should it win the presidential election in 2019, the candidate said he had garnered experience after working as the vice-president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to him, “I will not be standing where I am today if my former boss (Olusegun Obasanjo) had not made me the vice-president. All the experience I got then will impact on our government when we win. I give tribute to him (Obasanjo).”

Jonathan, Ekweremadu, SMBLF, others hail Atiku

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders  Forum, and the  PDP have hailed the emergence of Atiku as the presidential candidate of the PDP.

The PDP in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the orderliness, transparency and credibility of its presidential primary should serve as a lesson to the Independent National Electoral Commission and the APC on how elections should be conducted in present day Nigeria.

The party said the process showed that the INEC had been responsible for the electoral crises in the country.

Ologbondiyan said the process through which Atiku emerged also showed that Nigerians, irrespective of their individual and group interests, were capable of holding peaceful and credible elections.

He said, “The success of our presidential primary followed our strict adherence to democratic rules and principles of transparency and fairness, which has eluded the nation since President Muhammadu Buhari-led licentious administration assumed office.

“Nigerians are 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 disagreement or reliance on heavy security, showing that Nigerians are peaceful, orderly and desirous of credible processes at all levels of political engagement.”

Atiku is Nigeria’s next president, says Ekweremadu

While congratulating Atiku, Ekweremadu said the PDP presidential candidate was the next President of Nigeria.

The Senate deputy Speaker, who congratulated other aspirants and the PDP on the primary which he described as “crucial and rancor-free,” noted that all the aspirants were qualified to lead the nation.

The senator, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, said, “I join our teeming party faithful and supporters to congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the incoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by God’s grace, on his nomination as the standard-bearer of the PDP in the 2019 presidential election.

“This is a watershed and a momentous occasion for the PDP and indeed the nation. More important in the race was the transparent, free, fair, credible, and peaceful process.”

Dickson, Ortom, others hail PDP candidate

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson and the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, also congratulated Atiku on Sunday.

A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor Dickson on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, said the governor made the comment while speaking on the emergence of the former vice -president as the presidential candidate of the PDP.

The statement read in part, “Let me congratulate the former Vice President and now the Presidential Candidate of our great party, (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for his resounding victory in a free, fair, transparent and credible primary election.

“Let me also congratulate the National Chairman and all members of the National Working Committee of our party, and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and his team for their hard work and the good job they have done.

“He (Atiku) can build bridges of understanding and unity and form a great team to address the challenges that are facing our country. We look forward to working, collaborating and supporting him in that onerous responsibility.”

Also, Ortom said the credible conduct of the presidential primary election was a confirmation that the PDP was a party that truly practised transparency and internal democracy.

In the same vein, a former National Auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ray Nnaji, said with Atiku’s emergence, the PDP could defeat the incumbent Buhari.

Speaking shortly after the announcement of the results, Nnaji said, “With Atiku’s emergence as PDP presidential candidate, Buhari will face a stiff battle in 2019.

“Atiku has all it takes to defeat him – he has been in the party (APC) before and I am sure he still has his people there.”

Victory well deserved – Saraki

Also, Saraki described the presidential primary that produced Atiku as the best since the inception of the PDP, adding that the former VP’s emergence was well deserved.

Saraki, who came third in the exercise, promised that the former aspirants would work with Atiku to ensure that the PDP won the 2019 election.

In his comment, the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, called on INEC to learn from the PDP.

He said, “We invite INEC to lift from this template and know that elections can be conducted without intimidation and harassment. We will carry out the most civilised campaign in this country to reclaim power.”

Meanwhile, Governor Wike on Sunday congratulated Atiku after he was announced the PDP candidate.

The Rivers State governor assured Atiku and other PDP stakeholders that he would continue to work for the success of the party while commending the PDP delegates for ensuring a successful convention.

Atiku’ll take Nigeria to greater heights – Jonathan

Also, former President Jonathan congratulated Atiku,  describing him as a man who had the capacity to take the country to greater heights.

Jonathan, in a text message to Atiku, said “I congratulate His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa, and by the grace of God and the votes of Nigerians, the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Our party members have spoken and have nominated you as the candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.

“I am convinced that you have all it takes to take Nigeria to greater heights and transform her into a hub for prosperity and happiness. Congratulations.”

The PDP National Legal Adviser, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, also said Atiku would take power from Buhari.

Enoidem, who said Atiku was the most experienced aspirant in the race, added that he was the foundational leader of the present democratic experience in Nigeria.

Also, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State said Atiku would leverage on his track record as an entrepreneur and an employer of labour to grow the nation’s economy.

The governor in his goodwill message to Atiku on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, said the ex-vice-president’s victory was victory for the party and Nigerians.

Learn from PDP, SMBLF tells INEC

Reacting to Atiku’s victory as the PDP candidate, the SMBLF enjoined INEC  to take a cue from the opposition party’s convention, saying the courts would not be filled with petitions and there won’t be post-election violence if elections were free, fair and credible.

The forum in a statement on Sunday by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), reminded Atiku about his commitment to the restructuring of the country.

The forum said, “The election of Atiku from a keenly contested primary election in what is generally seen as a free and fair process is a breath of fresh air to the democratic project in Nigeria which appeared threatened by manipulation of processes in intra-party conduct and general elections.

“It is never too early to remind the presidential candidate of the clear commitment to the fundamental issue of restructuring he has made overtime and which the former Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Party, Senator Makarfi confirmed as the party agenda.

“It is clear today that no amount of good governance can get Nigeria out of the woods without a proper structure that can restore Nigeria to productivity under federalism.”

Buhari’s aides tackle Atiku

But some aides of Buhari on Sunday took to the social media to tackle Atiku.

Shortly after the declaration of the result, Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, took to the social media where she claimed that Atiku’s emergence had made the job of the president’s team easier.

Onochie claimed that the Vice-President ran away from the All Progressives Congress to avoid contesting against the president in the primary.

She also alleged that Atiku spent more money than his co-contestants before he emerged the winner of the contest.

She wrote, “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar outspends Saraki, Tambuwal and others, wins the PDP presidential ticket for 2019.

“Congratulations Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. You have outspent the rest. You have a new toy. But believe it, it is only a dream.

“Bearing in mind that you can’t go to America to represent us at the United Nations, nor meet with Nigerians in America, our job is made easy.”

Also, the spokesman for the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo, said with Atiku’s emergence, Nigerians would choose between a candidate with credibility crises and one with an unblemished record.

Keyamo posted the message on his Twitter handle.

“We welcome H.E. Atiku Abubakar to the 2019 campaign trail. Nigerians will now decide between a candidate with a history full of credibility crises, damning reports on corruption, both home, abroad and from his former boss and another candidate with an unblemished record in public service,” he wrote.

Jubilation in Taraba

But there was jubilation in Jalingo the capital of Taraba State on Sunday following the declaration of Atiku  as the presidential candidate of the PDP.

Hundreds of youths and women took to the streets with posters of Atiku Abubakar singing and dancing.

One of the jubilant youth, Collins Bonzena, told one of our correspondents that Atiku’s position on restructuring, security and job creation was the basis for their support for him.

He stated, “Atiku has the experience and the capacity to rule Nigeria.  Remember he was the vice president of this country for eight years and his experience in the private sector will make him a good President.

“Atiku has a blueprint on how to grow Nigeria, tackle insecurity and restructure the country to give us true federalism which is key to our development and that is what we need at the moment,” he said.

Also reacting, the National Coordinator of PDP Loyal Group, Mr. Dennis Shima, called on Nigerians to support Atiku’s candidature for a better Nigeria.

Ijaw’ll support candidate planning restructuring – IYC

The Ijaw Youth Council has said it will support any presidential candidate that plans to restructure the country and remove the marginalisation of the South-South people from the oil and gas benefits.

The IYC President, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, on Sunday stated this while congratulating the presidential flag bearers of various political parties in the 2019 general elections.

Oweilaemi said the Ijaw’s stand on restructuring was intact, calling “for the federating units to control natural resources in their respective domains and let them in turn pay royalty to the centre as practised by America and other advanced democracies.”

He said, “The IYC, which is the umbrella body of Ijaw youths worldwide, will mobilise its men and women to support any presidential candidate that supports restructuring of this country that is currently being managed with resources from the Niger Delta while our people are treated with disdain.

“The present situation is where our people are wallowing in misery while those who do not know the colour of crude oil are living in affluence. The IYC will no longer support any government or leader that tries to treat our people like second class citizens.”

We will still decide who to support – Afenifere

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said it would sit down and decide who it would support for the presidential election.

The group, which had earlier hosted Atiku in Akure, the Ondo State capital, had promised to support any presidential candidate that believed in restructuring.

Speaking with our correspondent in Akure on Sunday, the Secretary General of the Afenifere, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, described Atiku as a politician who had paid his dues in Nigerian politics.

He, however, noted that there was a need for the opposition to come together to defeat the ruling party.

He said, “When we compare Atiku with others, you will see him as somebody who has paid his dues. Among politicians and our former rulers, Atiku has made his marks.

“Before the PDP primary, Atiku came to Afenifere and promised to restructure the country; and we have said that anybody who wants to restructure with all seriousness, such a person will be our candidate. Now that he is in, Afenifere will still sit down to decide.”   (Punch)

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