Following the outcomes of the presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Goodluck Jonathan is now set to once again engage Muhammadu Buhari, a former military head of state, in a fierce competition in the presidential election scheduled for February 14, 2015.
The two men had in 2011 contested the presidency. While Buhari ran on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Jonathan contested on the PDP ticket.
In his acceptance speech, shortly after the ratification of his adoption as the sole candidate of his party for the presidential election, President Jonathan pledged that he would not fail Nigerians and that his target would be to ensure that the living standard of Nigerians improved.
Jonathan said his nomination as the PDP presidential candidate exemplified the party’s determination to ensure that democracy in Nigeria yielded the desired benefits to Nigerians.
He assured that the country’s fight against corruption was on course and would be won.
The president said his administration was strongly committed to the observance of human rights, adding that no Nigerian would be persecuted for holding a contrary view.
For his part, Buhari, who addressed delegates before the exercise, said: “We seek a new Nigeria. It starts with us. It starts today. I have placed myself before you, seeking your help to nominate me as your standard bearer for our progressive party, APC.
“Personal ambition does not drive me in this regard. I seek to be the next president of our beloved nation because I believe I have something to offer Nigeria at this time of multiple crises. Insecurity, corruption, and economic collapse have brought the nation low. Time is due that we work together to lift Nigeria up.
“I am ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future.
I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability.
I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me. This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person. I can’t give you a pocketful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale,” he added.
Jonathan, who retains Namadi Sambo as his running mate, polled 2,812 ‘YES’ votes to get the needed support from the party in a result that was announced in the early hours of Thursday, at the Eagle Square venue of the event, while Buhari emerged winner with 3,430 votes out of the 5,932 votes cast by the delegates at the presidential primary held inside the main bowl of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar, former Nigerian vice president and one of the presidential aspirants of the APC , along with three other three contestants, conceded defeat in the party’s primaries to Buhari.
The former vice president came third with 954 votes, while Rabiu Kwankwaso, governor of Kano State emerged second with 974 votes. Coming behind Kwankwaso was Rochas Okorocha, Imo State governor, who polled 624 votes and Sam Ndah Isaiah with 10 votes. All the losers pledged to work together with Buhari and the party leadership to win the 2015 presidential election.
Atiku in his congratulatory message after the results of the election were announced at about 5:30 pm Thursday, said: “I heartily congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari for emerging victorious in this keenly contested presidential primary election of our great party, the APC. You ran a spirited campaign, and since the delegates have spoken, you fully deserve the victory.
“I am very confident that you will provide the needed leadership to turn this country around. I have no doubt that you will work with dedicated and qualified Nigerians to protect our citizens, improve our economy, create jobs, improve education, reform governance and fight corruption. You will indeed bring the change Nigerians have been yearning for. Once more, congratulations.
“I congratulate the other contestants, namely governors Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Rochas Okorocha, as well as the erudite Sam Nda-Isaiah. You have all demonstrated your commitment to democracy by participating in this transparent process and by campaigning vigorously across this country.
“I thank our delegates for their sacrifices and their commitment to democracy. In particular, I thank those who voted for me for your faith in me. However, since we came up short, we have to now rally behind General Buhari to help him prevail in the coming presidential election,” he said.
According to him, “The APC has demonstrated, through the transparent process, the party’s commitment to democracy and rule of law. It has demonstrated its respect for people and their choice through the ballot box. I sincerely thank the convention committee for putting together a hitch-free convention.
“My dear friends, we have voted, a winner has emerged. I pledge my commitment to this party, and to campaign vigorously for our candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, and all APC candidates to ensure victory in the 2015 elections. I call on all other contestants and our party’s rank and file to unite behind our candidates at all levels to ensure that the PDP is defeated, so Nigerians can have real change.”
Also speaking, Rabiu Kwankwaso, assured that all the members would work for the same course.
Rochas Okorocha, who acknowledged the internal democracy exhibited by the party, said: “I believe that it’s God that has made this possible for him and it is for a purpose.”
He also noted that “today the South-East has a sense of belonging in this great party,” adding that the outcome of the primary is a coma in his political carrier.”
A cross section of Nigerians living in major parts of the northern states took to the streets to celebrate the emergence of former Head of State, Muhammad Buhari, as the presidential flag-bearer for the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming 2015 general election.
Of the 7,214 votes cast by the delegates at the third APC National Convention, Buhari emerged winner with 3,430 votes, followed by Kwankwaso with 974 votes; Atiku polled 954, Okorocha got 624 votes; Nda-Isaiah got 10 votes while 16 votes were declared as invalid.
While announcing the result of the presidential primary, Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the electoral committee and the returning officer, 5,932 votes received while 7,214 delegates were accredited.
“Having won the majority of votes cast, it is my pleasure and honour to declare Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the All Progressive Congress presidential primary in preparation for the 2015 presidential election,” after which he handed over the certificate of return to Buhari.
He pledged to hold meeting with all stakeholders within the party on the best way to tackle the problems confronting the country.
In his remarks, John Odigie-Oyegun, APC national chairman, who commended the leadership of the party and the Convention Planning Committee, assured Nigerians of the party’s commitment towards rescuing Nigeria from the numerous crises bedevilling the country.
“For all of you who are here and those who have gone, you have made history. In my almost 30 years in politics, I’ve never seen success like this,” he said.