(December 11, 2014) When it is time for the presidential contest in the 2015 February general elections Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari will fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress, APC. He became the presidential candidate of APC at the party’s 3rd National Convention at the main bowl of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere.
He defeated four other APC aspirants –Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda-Isaiah – to clinch the party’s ticket at the convention/primary that started on Wednesday and ended about 7pm on Thursday.
His victory makes him yet again the opponent who on Wednesday was formally handed the Peoples Democratic Party flag for the 2015 election.
Buhari, who was born on December 17, 1942, was Jonathan’s main opponent in the 2011 presidential poll. He first had a shot at the Presidency in 2003 against Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2007, he ran against Umaru Yar’Adua(now late).
His emergence for the fourth time as a presidential candidate was welcomed by the APC national leadership, delegates and aspirants.
Buhari was handed a return certificate by the Chairman, Third National Convention and Presidential Primary of the APC, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, having scored 3, 430 votes to beat Kwankwaso,who is the Kano State governor, to a distant second with 974 votes.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, came third. He scored 954 votes.
Okorocha polled 624 votes to come fourth while the Publisher, Leadership newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, came fifth with 10 votes.
There were 16 voided votes in all.
He said Nigerians were tired of years of broken promises, hardship, corruption, ineptitude, impunity and lack of vision.
Explaining that he was not the best among the contestants, Buhari said providence had thrusted on the leadership of the APC, the task of giving Nigeria a new lease of life.
He said, “My common cause is the love I have for our nation. I want Christians, Muslims, the old and the young, the rich and the poor to come together and let us advance together the cause of this country.
“Preserving the nation’s future is a great obligation to all of us. This is what the government in power should saddle itself with, otherwise, they have no reason being in government.
The Daura, Katsina State- born ex-soldier said if elected in 2015, he would evolve a five–point agenda that would engender constitutional governance, improved security, poverty eradication through job creation and end ethnic , tribal and religious bigotry.
An indication that Buhari was likely to emerge the winner of the long-drawn contest showed at the venue of the rally when most of the governors of the party subtly rallied support for him before the commencement of the primaries.
The party’s leaders who were at the VIP stand included the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; a former acting National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande; a former National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Bernabas Gemade; another former National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Audu Ogbeh; a former National Chairman of the defunct, All Peoples Party, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu; among others.
Odigie-Oyegun described the convention and primary as historic and unprecedented in the annals of the country.
While conceding defeat, Okorocha said Buhari’s emergence was an act of God, adding that all the aspirants were winners.
He said, “For every sunrise, there must be a sunset, this responsibility has fallen on a new shoulder. I say that it is God that has made this day possible and I believe this is for a purpose.
“While I congratulate Gen. Buhari, permit me to appreciate Alhaji Abubakar, a dogged fighter and a detribalised Nigerian and one that knows when to fight and when to stop fighting.Let me also commend the passion of my brother Governor Kwankwaso for his zeal in making this competition a reality.”
Abubakar also congratulated Buhari on his victory. He said he would honour the agreement by the aspirants to support the winner of the primary.
The former Vice-President promised to work with Buhari to ensure the victory of the APC in the general elections next year.
He said, “Last night when I stood here, I said history is going to be made at this venue. I said this convention would be political evolution; that this party would renew democracy in this country and since last night you have witnessed what I describe as the most credible election to be ever conducted by any political party in this country.
“On behalf of my humble self and my supporters that voted for me, I congratulate the winner of this very historic election .I therefore congratulate Muhammadu Buhari. We have pledged that whosoever wins this election, all of us will work as a family.