Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in Port Harcourt yesterday after defeating 11 opponents during the primary election involving 3,274 accredited delegates at the Adokiye Amaesimaka Stadium in the Rives State capital.
Atiku polled 1,532 votes to Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s 693 votes.
Other aspirants performed as follows: Senator Bukola Saraki 317 votes; Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso 158 votes; Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo 111 votes; former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido 96 votes; Senator Ahmed Makarfi 74 votes, Former Minister Tanimu Turaki 65 votes; former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa 48 votes; Senator David Mark 35 votes; Senator Jonah Jang 19 votes and Dr. Datti Baba-Ahmed 5 votes. There were 68 void votes.
The convention, which started at 8:50 p.m. on Saturday when it was delared open by National Chairman Uche Secondus came to an end with the announcement of result by Chairman of the Elective National Convention Planning Committee Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta)at 12:44 p.m. yesterday.
Akwa Ibom State had the highest number of delegates (151) with Ogun State the lowest with only 21 as a result of the unending litigation and factions.
In his acceptance speech Atiku described the primary election as the most credible, transparent, free and fair, in the history of PDP, while lauding ex-President Obasanjo for giving him the opportunity in 1999 to be his deputy.
Atiku also lauded Wike, Rivers government and the people of Rivers state on their support for the successful convention, while assuring that he would not fail and would not be found wanting.
The presidential candidate of PDP said: “Today (yesterday), we are witnessing a landmark event, in the sense that since the rebranding of our great party, the PDP, and since the return of democratic governance in this country, we have just witnessed the best, the most credible, transparent, free and fair primaries.
“Let me also commend my fellow competitors or aspirants for displaying a sense of unity, a sense of purpose and a sense of commitment. This is a very rare event. My fellow compatriots have really shown that the interest of the party and that of the people of this country is paramount and more important, than our individual interest. I want to pay a tribute to each and everyone of them and to assure them that I am ever ready to work with each and everyone of them, for the realisation of the victory of our party in the forthcoming elections.
“I cannot do it alone. I need your support. I need your assistance. I need your understanding and I need your participation. It is not a one man’s job. It is a collective responsibility and I am prepared to listen to you, to take your advice, to consult with you, to work with you. Together we will succeed and after we have succeeded, we shall be partners in the success.
“Let me also pay my tribute to the members of the National Convention Planning Committee. This is one of the most innovative electoral processes that this party has ever taken, since the inception of this party in 1998. I believe we have learnt quite a lot from the conduct of this exercise. I also believe that we can continue to improve on what has been achieved in the last few days in Port Harcourt.
Speaking on behalf of the eleven presidential aspirants, Saraki promised that all of them and their teeming supporters would work with the newly-elected presidential candidate of PDP, with the national convention ending at 1:28 p.m.
The convention was, however, marred by near stampede, caused by overzealous security personnel and poor accreditation, especially of reporters.