The immediate family members of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar have begun counting their losses following his failure to clinch the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress.
A former military Head-of-State, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, defeated Atiku and the three other aspirants polling 3430 votes.
Atiku came third with 954 votes as another leading aspirant and Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, polled 974 votes to emerge first runner-up.
But a prominent son of the former VP, Mustapha, said on Thursday that he was saddened by the loss of his father.
Speaking shortly after his father conceded defeat via his Twitter handle while the collation was underway, Mustapha stated that Atiku’s loss would not signal an end to his political career.
“It sucks to lose,” Mustapha stated on Twitter, as he moved to accept the reality of his father’s defeat.
The younger Atiku stated that although his father’s loss was painful, he does not feel ashamed associating with him, despite coming a distant third.
“My preferred candidate lost, but I remain equally eager to support our party (APC) in replacing the government in Aso Rock.
“That Atiku lost is not the end of the world, we can still build ‘a Nigeria for all’ without him at the very top.
“This is not the end of the road for us. My father, Atiku Abubakar, is a great man and I feel honoured to be his son and have the opportunity to learn from him,” Mustapha added.
Atiku’s United Kingdom-based daughter, Aishat, also consoled her dad over the loss, saying, “Proud of you! Always and forever, Atiku.”
Reacting to Buhari’s emergence as APC presidential candidate, a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, stated that the retired general ‘massacred’ Atiku and the three other aspirants.
“Now it is a massacre. What is happening here now is what late ace public affairs commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, described as intercontinental ballistic missile.
“Buhari’s overwhelming victory announces national acceptability of the General and demystifies demons who paint religious fundamentalism,” Melaye wrote on his Twitter page.
A former presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party and publisher of the Ovation magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, threw his weight behind Buhari following his emergence.
He urged Nigerians to invest in his presidential campaign and become veritable stakeholders of the ex-general’s move to emerge victorious at the 2015 general elections.
“Congratulations, Gen. Buhari, the father of the nation. The people’s general is the rave and ultimate rock star in Nigeria today,” Momodu said.
Meanwhile, a one-time West Africa Correspondent of the Cable News Network, Christian Purefoy, has said he was disappointed with Buhari’s performance at the APC primary.
Purefoy stated that with the ex-head-of-state’s seeming popularity, he had expected that he would coast home to victory with a minimum of 70 per cent of the vote cast.
“As far as I’m concerned this is shocking. He (Buhari) should have won by at least 70 per cent. However, why does Atiku continue to put himself through these moments?” he tweeted.
Joining the online debate which followed Buhari’s emergence as APC presidential standard bearer, the Nigeria Correspondent of the BBC, Will Ross, expressed doubts on the possibility of the ex-general to send President Goodluck Jonathan packing from Aso Rock in 2015.
“If (big if) APC wins, Buhari’s 30-year break from power would have to be a world record. Like Franz Beckenbauer returning for Germany,” Ross said.
Chairman of the APC Presidential Primary Committee and immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, attributed the success of the convention to the hundreds of volunteers, mostly young professionals, who he said sacrificed their time and deployed their competencies to make the event a reality.
According to him, the peaceful conduct of the primary election which held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, revealed to Nigerians “why the APC is different.”
“Today (Thursday) is a major signpost on our journey to a new Nigeria. Today we have demonstrated to Nigerians our democratic credentials by the way we conducted ourselves.
“We have shown the spirit of sportsmanship and the love for the greater good that are the pillars upon which this great party is built,” Fayemi said on Twitter.
But the Presidency has expressed confidence that Jonathan would triumph over Buhari at the 2015 poll.
“Today’s events (APC primary) just reinforced the fact that 2015 is the year of Goodluck Jonathan! I wish Muhammadu Buhari, who has just emerged the candidate of the APC, Goodluck in all his endeavors,” Presidential Assistant on New Media, Reno Omokri, tweeted.