Frontline presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has congratulated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for emerging as the flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the primary conducted at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Saturday.
In a statement by the Director of Media and Communication for Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Mr Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu, who is also the APC National Leader, commended the PDP presidential candidate for his patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s progress.
The former Lagos State Governor also congratulated the other contestants for the orderly and peaceful way they conducted themselves and for pledging to rally round the winner, in the true spirit of democratic sportsmanship.
Out of the 767 accredited ballots at the PDP special convention, Atiku polled 371, while his closest challenger, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike scored 237 delegate votes.
Other major contestants were former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel; former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim; and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed.
Tinubu said he looked forward to Atiku, who was also the 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP, to be his worthy opponent in next year’s general elections as he anticipated victory at the APC presidential primary election now rescheduled for 6th and 7th June.
The APC National Leader said Atiku’s victory didn’t come as a surprise to Nigerians because of his vast experience as a statesman and veteran of many presidential contests from 1993.
Thirty years ago, Atiku was a presidential aspirant of the Social Democratic Party – one of the two political parties of the Ibrahim Babangida military era. He lost to Chief Moshood Abiola, whose eventual election on 12th was annulled by the military junta.
As Vice President under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Atiku defied his party, the PDP, and contested as presidential candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria, coming third behind the PDP candidate election winner, Umar Musa Yar’Adua.
He was also presidential candidate of the APC in 2015, again finishing third behind Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and the winner, Muhammadu Buhari.
Four years ago, he won the PDP presidential primary but lost to Buhari in the general elections.
While welcoming Atiku to the 2023 race, Tinubu added that the coming election should be about issues that would improve the quality of life of Nigerians; bring peace, progress, political stability and solve myriad of sociopolitical challenges and insecurity currently facing the country.
Tinubu said: “I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the just concluded primary. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent in the coming election. I have known the former Vice President as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country”.
He then admonished: “As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour and strife.
“We should make our campaigns peaceful and issue based. Election season should be a festival of ideas that will uplift our country and improve the living condition of all our people.
“Unfortunately for the PDP, its candidate will be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after squandering 16 years at the central government, without much to show.
“Nigerians are yet to forget the national ruin and mismanagement of our country for 16 years by successive PDP administration and this bad memory will dog the campaign of the PDP candidate”
“Nevertheless, I once again congratulate our former Vice President for his victory in his party’s primary”.