Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday, albeit with the help of Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
The governor, who was a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, gave the former number two citizen the needed boost when he announced he was stepping down to support Atiku.
About 767 delegates elected from across the country voted in the presidential primary held at Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
Atiku scored 371 votes. The first runner-up, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, polled 237 votes.
Tambuwal, a popular figure in the party, kept his wild card until the last minute.
Just hours to the convention, a meeting among key leaders of PDP from the north failed to broker a consensus deal among aspirants from the north as several of them declined to shift ground; preferring to participate in the primary.
Two aspirants had withdrawn from the race without backing Atiku. They are financial expert, Mohammed Hayatudeen, and Nwachukwu Anakwenze.
Tambuwal’s decision to step down and support Atiku meant that delegates who would have preferred him as candidate would shift grounds subsequently.
So instrumental was Tambuwal’s move that Atiku acknowledged him in a tweet after his “thank you” note.
“Thank you, H.E @AWTambuwal, for your spirited campaign. I look forward to working with you as we unite our party and our country,” he wrote.
Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa. He ran for governor of the state three times in 1990, 1997 and in 1998, when he was elected before becoming the running mate to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, of which he remained the Vice President till 2003.
Atiku has contested the office of the president several times including 2014, when he ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost at the primaries to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also ran as the PDP presidential candidate in 2019, but lost President Buhari.