Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a retired Customs officer and Nigeria’s vice president between 1999 and 2007, has been elected the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
At the PDP national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, held Saturday and Sunday, Mr Abubakar defeated 11 other aspirants to clinch the hotly-contested ticket. His victory sets him as the main challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general election.
The ruling All Progressives Congress had earlier on Saturday confirmed Mr Buhari as its candidate at a non-competitive convention in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mr Abubakar, an Adamawa-born politician whose quest for Nigeria’s presidency has seen him vie for the top office since 1992, scored 1,532 votes at this weekend’s convention. At the end of the vote count, Atiku polled 1,532 to clinch the ticket.
The Fulani-born businessman and politician beat 11 other contestants to face another Fulani-incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
His closet rival, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, scored 693 votes.
Atiku, a native of a Fulani village of Jada in Adamawa state, was earlier at the end of votes sorting declared the winner of the primary by his agents Messrs Gbenga Daniel and Ben Bruce.
With the win, Atiku Abubakar would have to face incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of APC and Mr Donald Duke of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and some others in the February 2019 presidential election. It was the first time Atiku would be on the ballot of a major political party for the election.
About 3,274 delegates were at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt and took part in the primary which produced the following results.
Aminu Tambuwal – 693
Bukola Saraki – 317
Sanator David Mark – 35
Sule Lamido – 96
Kabiru Turaki – 65
Donald Jang – 19
Datti Ahmed – 5
Attahiru Bafarawa – 48
Ibrahim Dankwanbo – 111
Ahmed Makarfi – 74
Rabiu Kwankwanso – 158
72-year-old Abubakar, a businessman, who served as the second elected vice-president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), with President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Abubakar worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to become the Deputy Director before he retired in April 1989 to go into politics.
He ran for the office of governor in the Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) in 1991, and for the Presidency in 1993, placing third after MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries.
In 1998 he was elected Governor of Adamawa State. While still Governor-Elect he was selected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo as his running mate.
The duo went on to win elections in February 1999, and Abubakar was sworn-in as Nigeria’s second democratically elected vice president on 29 May 1999.
Abubakar’s second term as Vice President was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo.
Abubakar ran for presidency on the platform of the Action Congress, having quit the PDP on account of his issues with President Obasanjo.
Abubakar lost the election, placing third after Umaru Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
He joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and sought the party’s ticket in 2014 but lost to President Muhammadu Buhari at the primary held in Lagos.
Abubaker defected again in May to PDP where he on Sunday clinched the ticket to tackle incumbent President Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad and founder of the American University of Nigeria (AUN).