…Tambuwal steps down for Atiku, urged his supporters to vote for him
After a tough contest for the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential ticket at the party’s primaries held in Abuja yesterday, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was announced winner of the main opposition party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
Atiku polled 371 votes to beat his fellow contenders for the PDP ticket. His closest rival, Governor Nyeson Wike of Rivers State, scored 237 votes; Senator Bukola Saraki, 70; Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State, 38; Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, 20; Senator Pius Anyim, 14; Mr Sam Ohuabunwa and Oliver Diana, one vote each.
According to Vanguard, there were 12 voided votes out of the total 767 ballots. With the victory, Atiku is set to go head-to-head with the winner of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary in the February 2023 election.
Before the commencement of voting yesterday, the Chairman of the 2022 PDP National Convention Organising Committee, Sen. David Mark, announced that one of the aspirants had an announcement to make.
Party members and delegates waited with bated breadth as Sokoto State Governor Waziri Tambuwual approached the dais. Soon after he had mounted, he dropped the bombshell; he was withdrawing from the race.
He based his decision on wide consultations, noting that it was in the best interest of the PDP and the nation. Tambuwual however urged his supporters to vote for Atiku.
The crowd of supporters went wild in jubilation. His decision altered earlier permutations that delegates from the North-West would vote for Atiku in block. Matter were further complicated by an announcement by the David Mark-led Electoral Committee banning the use of electronic devices such as phones around the voting area.
This did not go down well with an agent of one of the aspirants who protested openly. The Electoral Panel also announced that of the 774 delegates expected to participate in voting, only 767 were accredited and were the ones cleared to vote.
The leading PDP presidential aspirants, Wike, Atiku, Saraki had earlier engaged in popularity contest at the venue of the Special National Convention.
Wike caused a stir when, on arrival, he led a team of his aides to the Oyo, Plateau, Ogun, Ondo, and Sokoto stands to greet delegates.They cheered and sang his praises with delegates from Rivers leading the chant of his name and singing a local song in his honour as he waved while clutching a traditional elephant tusk. He went on to greet delegates from other states in their stands.As if taking a queue from Wike, Atiku also moved from his seat and made his way to the delegates stand to pay homage.
He raised his hands in greeting while his supporters hailed. Not long after, Saraki joined the contest as he started his round of greetings from the VIP stand before making his way to the delegates stands.
EFCC operatives storm venue Amidst speculations of dollar rain by presidential aspirants, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stormed the Velodrome of the MKO Abiola Stadium Abuja, venue of the convention, to monitor proceedings.Over a dozen officers were sighted moving around the delegates stands.