by Chibuzo Ukaibe and Sunday Isuwa (Leadership)
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will today give former Vice President Atiku Abubakar his certificate of return as presidential candidate of the party.
The event which will hold at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja will have in attendance party’s governors and members of various organs of the party, the national publicity secretary of PDP, Hon Debo Ologunagba, stated yesterday in a statement.
Atiku emerged PDP candidate for a second time in four years, at the Velodrome of the MKO Abiola National Stadium Abuja late Saturday, scoring a total of 371 votes to defeat his closest rival, Governor Nyesom Wike who scored 237 votes.
He has since moved to calm frayed nerves in the aftermath of his victory. Atiku met with his top contenders for the party ticket namely Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki; Akwa Ibom State governor Udom Emmanual; and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim.
The former vice president personally went to the residences of the aspirants in Abuja in a move to plead for their support ahead of the main election.
He had shortly after his emergence met with former Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, to thank him for withdrawing from the race and urging his supporters to vote for him (Atiku).
Ologunagba said, “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) invites all our Governors, Governorship Candidates, Presidential aspirants, members of the Board of Trustees, members of the National Assembly, all other candidates of the party and all critical stakeholders to the Special Ceremony of the Presentation of Certificate of Return to our Presidential Flagbearer, H.E. Atiku Abubakar (Waziri Adamawa) GCON.”
The former vice president is expected to unveil his running mate shortly after he gets his certificate of return. Although the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and other stakeholders have indicated interest to help in the search for Atiku’s running mate, some front liners for the position are Rivers State governor, Wike and his Delta and Akwa Ibom State counterparts Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel.
…Atiku Can’t Get 11m In 2023, Kwankwanso Declares
Presidential aspirant under the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso has said that they gave former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate over 11 million votes in 2019.
He, however, said Atiku cannot get the same number of votes in next year’s election because the political turf has changed.
Responding to questions after his screening to contest the 2023 presidential election, Kwankwanso, who is the only aspirant for the party’s presidential ticket, said Nigerians are desirous of a man who can change things for better in 2023.
On claims that Atiku already has 11 million votes as the PDP presidential candidate, Kwankwanso asked, “Where will he get the 11 million votes from?
“Who brought them? We brought them,” Kwankwanso said of Atiku’s votes in 2019, adding that Nigerians now want things to be done differently.
“There is a lot of division in the country and if something is not done, the country will not grow.
“In Kano, we know what happened in 2019, how the popular votes were subverted. That will not happen in 2023 especially with the signing of the electoral law.
“Nigerians need someone who can come and salvage the country. In 2023, Nigeria will go for someone who is capable. Nigerians will support capable people and we will work with Nigerians not minding religion or ethnicity,” he said.
LEADERSHIP reports that in the official results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the 2019 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who polled 11,262,978.
But Kwankwanso, who believes he would win the 2023 presidential election under the platform of the NNPP, said they were the ones that worked hard to ensure that Atiku and the PDP produced over 11 million votes.
“We will bring good and effective change,” Kwankwanso said of the NNPP, adding that they now have structures in all the wards, local government, states, regional and national levels.
“We will always try to understand our priority. People are worried about what is happening in the country,” Kwankwanso said, adding that Nigeria’s military is capable of handling security challenges.
“And any day, anytime, the Nigeria military can defeat the terrorists,” Kwankwanso said. He noted that security, education and infrastructural development will be his immediate priority when he becomes president.
“Once you keep people busy, they will do the right thing. Let me thank the entire people of our country for supporting the NNPP. We have our structures in all the awards, local government, states and zonal level. I believe this is a bit fair for our party to have achieved this result in this short period.
“Let me thank the screening committee headed by Dr Stanley Eje. It was fair. I want to thank all Nigerians who have registered in our party. I use this opportunity to invite all Nigerians to join the NNPP.
“Our tickets are not for sale to the highest bidder. From the state assemblies to the presidency, our tickets are not for sale.
“Whoever that bought a form for 100 million, you know what is involved. He or she needs to be investigated,” Kwankwanso said while debunking reports that he collected money during the PDP primaries for Kano delegates.
“It was said that I collected money for Kano delegates. I did not collect delegates’ money. I am happy I left the APC and the PDP. I am now using this opportunity to invite all Nigerians to join the NNPP. People who believe in our ideology and what we stand for in this country should join us,” Kwankwanso added.