Former Head of State, Major General Muhammed Buhari (rtd), has emerged the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
Buhari who emerged the party’s flag bearer at its 3rd National Convention/Presidential Primary Election held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, will square up with President Goodluck Jonathan, who clinched the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s ticket, in next year’s presidential election.
It was a landslide victory as Buhari polled a whopping 3430 votes; the Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, polled 974 votes; ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar polled 954 votes; the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha scored 624 votes while the Publisher of Leadership newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah could only muster a paltry 10 votes.
At least 7,214 delegates were accredited to vote at the convention. 8,000 delegates were initially expected at the convention.
Earlier, accreditation of delegates did not start until in the evening of Wednesday and continued late into the night.
The main programme started after the accreditation around midnight with a speech delivered by the National Convention Committee Chairman, Fayemi.
Fayemi announced that the primary was going to be by secret ballot, saying that after the delegated had completed their voting, it would be counted and the winner would be announced.
Meanwhile, the leadership party has said that they are on a mission to rescue Nigeria from decay and destruction which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has plunged it.
Buhari said, “We seek a new Nigeria. It starts with us. It starts today. I have placed myself before you seeking your help as the standard bearer for our progressive party, APC. Personal ambition does not drive me in this regard. I seek to be the next president of our beloved nation because I believe I have something to offer Nigeria at this time of multiple crises.
“Insecurity, corruption, and economic collapse have brought the nation low. Time is past due that we work together to lift Nigeria up. I am ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future. I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability. I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me.
“This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person. I cannot give you a bucket of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale,” Buhari said.
He said what he would give the nation was all his strength, commitment, sweat and toil in the service to the people, saying, “what I can give you is my all. I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want to democratically rescue it with your help. I seek a Nigeria where Christians and Muslims may practice their faith in peace and security.”
“I seek a Nigeria that is just and where corruption no longer trespasses into our institutions and national behaviour. And I also seek a Nigeria where our diversity could be used for our national prosperity. Nigeria is our home. Let us now turn it into the great nation we know it can and should be,” he stated.
Speaking, Atiku Abubakar, said Nigerians wanted change because they were fed up with paying for electricity and getting darkness which was also destroying the nation’s industries and contributing to unemployment and crime.
He said Nigerians were tired of the dangerous PDP mathematics that is destroying “our democracy, the mathematics where 16 is greater than 19 and seven is greater than 19. I’m of course referring to the Nigerian Governors Forum and recent events in Ekiti State respectively
“Nigerians are tired of the abuse of power, lawlessness and impunity of the PDP government; the type of impunity that sees a court sacked and judges beaten up by thugs under the direction of a party to litigation, a governor-elect.”
Earlier, while unveiling the party’s manifesto, National Chairman, APC, John Oyegun described the event as historic in view of the fact that the party’s candidate will liberate the nation from the mismanagement of the PDP.
“APC is ready to provide leadership for a new Nigeria. Change is imminent. We have people that can lead this nation. The imperative is to rescue Nigeria and this demands that all our hands should be on deck. I appeal to elect their leader with all sense of responsibility. Vote according to your conscience,” he said.
Unveiling the manifesto, Oyegun said it had six cardinal points, which were national security, good governance, human capital development, economic development, land and natural resources and foreign policy.
APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said that the APC was set to liberate the nation from its current quargmire, saying that the call for a change is bekoning.
Tinubu stated that APC is the party to bring about a change in the nation in the midst of crises.
“APC is the party that will bring care to this nation, Nigerians may be in despair, but we promise them help. Nigeria will change for the better and the economic doom Nigeria is facing will be wiped away by the cure the APC will bring,” he said.