Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has stated that contrary to widespread claims, he remains proud of the delegates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Adamawa state who voted against his preferred candidate in the governorship primary election that held on Wednesday.
Mr. Abubakar said he could have imposed his preferred candidate if he wished to.
Mr. Abubakar who was reacting to a reporter’s question in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Saturday, said although he had a preferred candidate, the defeat of such candidate should not mean it is a personal defeat for him.
“Yes, I had a preferred candidate, someone I have known for a very long time, and whom I thought would be a terrific governor. Yes, he was defeated at the polls. Now some people are saying this is my defeat. Why would they do this?” he asked.
In a primary election that lasted nearly 24 hours, a serving Senator, Jibrill Bindow, emerged as winner.
Mr. Bindow scored 1,880 votes to defeat Yayaji Mijinyawa, Mr. Abubakar’s preferred candidate, who scored 1,183 vote to place second, while a former secretary to the state government, Kobis Thimnu, polled 85 votes.
The former vice president said rather than be angry, what transpired at the Lamido Cinema in Yola has consolidated his belief in the country’s democratic growth.
“You know, I have always fought for democracy. In this country, in the PDP, and now in the APC. I have always argued that we need political competition. And you are telling me that if we have political competition, and my preference does not prevail, I have lost. This is nonsense,” he said.
Mr. Abubakar said he would have felt defeated if a winner had emerged through rigging or imposition against the wishes of the people.
“So, let’s stop this nonsense, and let me set the record straight, once and for all: Adamawa has made me proud: delegates have voted for the candidate they thought was best qualified for the job.
“If the citizens of Adamawa agree, he will be their next governor; if he does a good job, he will be re-elected for a second term; if not, another APC candidate will compete for his ticket,” Mr. Abubakar said.
Why I did not impose my candidate
Mr. Abubakar also stated that although he had the clout to impose his candidate and ensure he emerged as the party’s flag bearer, he said he chose to remain a democrat.
“Do you really think I could not have imposed a candidate if I had wanted to?
“But seriously, why should I, why would I want to do this? I am a democrat. Imposing a candidate would go against everything I fought for, it would go against everything the APC should stand for: the right of the people, be they delegates or citizens, to choose who should be in charge,” he said.
Mr. Abubakar said the choice of Mr. Bindow has reaffirmed the internal democracy that prevails in the APC.
“This is what I have fought for, and this is what I count on for the Presidential Primaries next week,” Mr. Abubakar said.
Meanwhile, a political group associated with the former Vice president, Adamawa Think Tank, has stated that despite the outcome of last Wednesday’s primary election, Adamawa delegates will vote for Mr. Abubakar at the party’s national convention.
The APC will hold its presidential nomination on Wednesday in Lagos, and Mr. Abubakar is one of five candidates seeking to get the nod of the party to run on its platform.
Other candidates running alongside Mr. Abubakar include former Head of State Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo and newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah.
In a statement Saturday, signed its coordinator, Danladi Asabe, Adamawa think Tank said “Atiku was not a candidate on Wednesday, he was merely a delegate like all others”.
The group recalled that the state chapter of the APC recently held a press conference and assured the world that they are behind Mr. Abubakar in his quest to run for the presidency.
“Atiku remains our best asset in Adamawa and he possess all the requirement of a competent leader, Nigeria will surely benefit from an Atiku presidency,” they said.