Buhari wins APC presidential primaries
*Polls 3,430 votes to defeat Kwankwaso, Atiku others
*Atiku. Kwankwaso, Okorocha vow to work for Buhari’s success
By Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Oke, Levinus Nwabughiogu & Monsur Olowopejo
Former Head of State, General Mohammadu Buhari has won the presidential primary election of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He polled 3,430 votes to get the ticket.
His votes outnumbered those of Kano State governor, Dr Rabiu Kwankwanso and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who got 974 and 954 votes respectively.
While Owelle Rochas Okorocha got 624, Sam Nda-Isaiah scored 10 votes as16 voided votes were recorded.
This is also the case with the three other contestants of the party’s presidential ticket whose votes were deciphered to be slim during the sorting of the thumb-printed ballot papers.
Other contenders are Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha and the publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah.
While officially declaring Buhari the winner of the exercise, the Chief Returning Officer, Dr Kayode Fayemi said “at the close of voting and counting, we have received the comprehensive vote of the exercise.”
Fayemi expressed delight that “it is my esteemed pleasure to reach this historic conclusion of this keenly contested race. Having won the majority of votes cast, it is my pleasure and honour to declare Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the APC presidential primaries in preparation for the 2015 presidential election. All our aspirants have proved to be champions in this race.”
We’ve made history–Oyegun
Oyegun, the APC chairman, however, commended the convention planning committee for a job well done.
He also commended the aspirants for display of good sportsmanship saying “to all of you who are here and those who have gone home, you have made history,” he said.
Join me to bring about change–Buhari
In his acceptance speech, winner of the presidential primaries, Buhari commended the convention planning committee for the success of the convention.
He said “the outcome of the presidential primaries is a demonstration of democracy at work. What has happened is not about winning or losing but about freedom of association. I wish to thank my contenders for putting up a good fight. I extend my gratitude for accepting my nomination and I will meet you in due course to fashion out how we will win the elections. It is with deep sense of humility to be the candidate and flag-bearer of the APC. I stand before you and ask that you join me to bring about the needed change for this country. It is either we advance as one or we fail together.”
The implication of this victory is that the former Head of State would square up again with President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2015 presidential election scheduled to hold on February 14, 2015.
This would be the second time in a row both political gladiators are meeting at the polls.
The first time was in 2011 when Buhari ran on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
But he was defeated by Jonathan despite polling about 12 million votes.
At the formation of APC which was an offshoot of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and Buhari’s CPC, the former soldier declared his interest to run again for the highest political office in the land.
This saw him contesting for the APC’s presidential ticket with four others in the party.
Meanwhile, Buhari’s victory has sparked off jubilations among his numerous supporters at the Lagos State owned Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the presidential primaries.
Atiku congratulates Buhari
Meantime, the former Vice President has congratulated Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for emerging victorious in the keenly contested presidential primary election of APC.
Commending the leaders of the party especially former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, he said “Tinubu has been my contemporary in the fight to entrench democracy. I want to single him out for his contributions. I also want to congratulate the winner of this election, General Buhari. He has been an embodiment of change and he has continued to offer himself for change in this country. Today, you have been given the responsibility of marching this party to victory. I want to assure you we are committed to working with you to ensure you bring about the change this country desires.”
I’ll work with Buhari –Kwankwaso
On his part, Kwankwaso promised to work for the success of the party and Buhari’s success at the polls.
“I want to start by thanking God for making me to be part of history. On behalf of myself especially the delegates that voted for me, I want to congratulate the winner of this primary, General Buhari. As we earlier agreed that whoever wins this election, we will work for him. Let me assure you that we will work together for the success of the APC at all levels,” he said.
Internal democracy has begun–Okorocha
Also speaking, Okorocha said “the responsibility falls on the shoulder of General Buhari. I believe it is God and it came to him because he is the oldest of the family and I believe the next one will go to the youngest of the family. There wouldn’t have been this competition if all of us have not contested. We have now taught the world that internal democracy can begin in a party.”
Explaining why he participated in the race, he said “I participated in the race because I wanted to give our brothers from the South East a sense of belonging.”