A national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emerged the presidential candidate of the party.
By implication, Tinubu’s main challenger in next year’s presidential election would be the candidate of the country’s main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The former Lagos governor said it was time the APC banished the PDP whom he accused of constantly dragging the nation back.
Tinubu who emerged at the end of the APC Special Convention and Presidential Primary Election Wednesday in Abuja polled 1, 271 votes to defeat his closest rival, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who garnered 316 votes.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo came third with 235 votes.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan came fourth with 152 votes.
While the party said it had 2,322 delegates, only 2,203 were physically on ground and accredited for the exercise. Of the figure, 13 votes were invalid.
Tinubu had earlier secured the endorsement of seven aspirants, who stepped down for him.
Those who stepped down for him Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State) and Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); Senator Godswill Akpabio; Professor Roberts Ajayi Borroffice; former House Speaker Dimeji Bankole; Senator Ibikunle Amosun; and Mrs Uju Ken Ohanenye.
Nicolas Felix on his part had stepped down for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday night while Nnamani withdrew from the race.
Some of those who contested against him were Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Gov. Ben Ayade (Cross River), Dr Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Gov. Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.
Nnamani had hours before the convention announced his withdrawal from the race. However, he was at the convention ground where he also addressed delegates.
Nwajiuba who boycotted the exercise got one vote.
Co-chair of the election management committee, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu announced the results.
Details of votes polled by other aspirants are;
Gov. Dave Umahi – 38,
Pastor Tunde Bakare – 0
Senator Ahmad Rufai Sani (Yarima) – 04
Senator Rochas Okorocha -0,
Gov. Yahaya Bello – 47,
Tein Jack-Rich – 0
Dr Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu – 01
Gov. Ben Ayade – 37
Chief Mokelu Ikeobasi – 0.
Chairman of the Election Management Committee, Gov. Abubakar Atiku who was the Chief Returning Officer for the election returned Tinubu as validly elected to fly the party’s presidential flag in next year’s general election.
Tinubu’s acceptance speech
In his acceptance speech, Tinubu who was highly elated said “today is another historic day and it is thanks to God almighty that you are living healthy to witness it, to be part of it, to be your calling, to be your arrangement.
“We all, not only as a party, it has gone beyond partisan idea now. It is yours as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You put it together and you have even gracious and humble from the beginning. We are very grateful to you.
The vice president, a very good and supportive pillar, a good assistant to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo GCON, we than you for this steady and good support to our president.
“To you, the legislature, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, I would have been a little upset because you competed with me but that is over now since you can easily leak your wounds. It doesn’t take away from thanking you from the past cooperation and cool-headedness to build our country. You have helped in steering the ship of the nation and with your colleagues in the Senate, history is written and will be kind to you.
“And to my brother, Hakeem Gbajabiamila, the sparkling speaker, I credit you. The Gbajabiamilas of Lagos have been part of the history of this country and you will not be forgotten.
“To the chairman of our party, senator Abdullahi Adamu, it appeared some weeks back that some newspapers and many people were ready to write the obituary of this party. We put together and pulled ourselves as a cat with nine lives. We thatched the roof, steady the pillars and became master builders. You came on and worked hard with the collaboration of others and here we are. Shame on those who were already building the coffin of APC. Shame on them. Our party is alive.
They won’t be able to do the convention but here we are are, the first convention to chose the. See executives, the governors pulled themselves together, we did break our backs and we are here, very happy and confident and courageous to tell you that the cat that lies down quietly is not a pretension of death but breeding of its energy to devour its enemies. Now we are here, we will roar. We will do it. We will tell Poverty Development Party. They call themselves PDP, 16 years of failures of wastefulness, we day step aside, be buried and leave the way way for us. We will repair our country.
“We are Progressives, we are nation builders. We are not destroyers. We are confident that this nation is back in track”, he stated.
Tinubu also spoke about the growing wave of killings in the country, saying; “We are not the barbaric, blind human beings they think we are. They are setting us against in another. When you were born, you didn’t hear from the womb whether you would be a male or female, Christian or Muslim. You were born to your parents and adopted their religions and you continued.
“The Bible taught us to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It did not say kill your neighbor. It is in the two holy books. Goodness for goodness. Learn to accept mistakes, not from gunshots or the destruction of lives and property because the life you take you cannot bring back, the hate you spill cannot cure your hunger. We must build a new society and learn to think a new way of life”.
He commended all his fellow aspirants for the stiff and strong opposition they offered which he said made the party better and himself humble.
Tinubu particularly lauded all the seven aspirants who stepped down for him saying it was a very difficult decision that they made.
“The competition is now over. Those who did not support me, you have nothing to fear. I hold no grudges. Let us join hands to beat the PDP and beat back their retrogressive understanding of Nigeria. They had 16 years, they depleted our resources and left us with hunger. Let us dig their graves by defeating them in the next election because they are the agents of poverty, terror, violence and lying”, he stated.
Apologizing to President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping him waiting due to his long acceptance speech, Tinubu said; “I didn’t expect to win, but I won and I must be intoxicated by the victory. What can I do?”
President Buhari later presented to Asiwaju Tinubu the flag of the party while the Imo state Governor, Hope Uzodinma moved a motion for the indefinite adjournment of the convention. It was seconded by the Zamfara state Governor, Bello Matawalle.