The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has emerged as the winner of the party’s presidential primary.
He obtained over 1,271 votes to defeat his closest rivals, ex-minister Rotimi Amaechi and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
While Amaechi polled 316 votes, Osinbajo scored 235 votes.
He contested against thirteen other aspirants – Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Mr Ahmed Rufai, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Mr Jack Rich, Governor Ben Ayade, Governor David Umahi, Senator Ahmed Yarima, Dr Ahmed Lawan, Osinbajo, Amaechi, Governor Yahaya Bello and Mr Ogbonnaya Onu.
Nine aspirants had earlier stepped down, eight of whom asked their supporters to vote for Tinubu, while one asked his supporters to vote for Osinbajo.
Those who stepped down before voting began are Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Robert Boroffice, Ken Nnamani, Ibikunle Amosun, Dimeji Bankole, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi and Godswill Akpabio.
They asked their supporters to vote for Tinubu, just as the only female aspirant, Mrs Uju Ken-Ohanenye, followed suit.
Pastor Felix Nicholas, the United States of America-based aspirant also stepped down and asked his supporters to vote for Osinbajo.
A candidate, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, immediate past Minister of State for Education, was conspicuously absent at the convention.
The PUNCH had reported that selected members of the APC had gathered to choose the party’s candidate for next year’s election to replace the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Tinubu will face 75-year-old Atiku Abubakar of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party among others in the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria.
Buhari, who is stepping down after the two terms he is allowed in the constitution, had spent days leading up to the convention in negotiations with the APC’s leaders seeking unity over a party candidate.
“The fate of the party depends on what we do here,” APC party chairman Abdullahi Adamu said, echoing Buhari’s call for unity in the ranks.
“We cannot go into the general election next year without putting our house together.”
What Tinubu told delegates
Tinubu vowed to fight terrorism and insecurity in the country if elected as the next president in 2023.
Tinubu commended the other 23 aspirants in the race for conducting what he described as a decent campaign, saying that the competition would eventually make the APC stronger.
He described himself as a unifier and the one which the current moment in the country calls for.
“Nominate me as the party’s presidential candidate for 2023 because am competent and courageous to serve Nigeria, and deliver good governance,” he said.
Tinubu, a former two-term governor of Lagos State said he had the experience, record of achievements and the ability to deliver good governance if elected as the country’s next president.
“I have done this in Lagos State as governor for two terms. I humbly ask you to allow me to use these skills and experiences to advance the nation.
“Ours shall be a land where all Nigerians will have an equal chance and no one is excluded because of his ethnic background, religious creed, place of origin or social status, we are all Nigerians.
“By this statement, I seek your help and support to become our party’s nominee and standard-bearer in the coming February 2023 presidential elections,” he said.
Tinubu expressed optimism that as an indivisible united country, Nigerians shall overcome the destructive forces attempting to steal the destiny of the nation.