Former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, has emerged as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general elections.
Tinubu defeated other aspirants, including Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president; Ahmad Lawan, senate president; Yahaya Bello, Kogi State governor; Rotimi Amaechi, former Rivers State governor; Ben Ayade, Cross River State governor and David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi State, at the primary characterised by intrigues.
The former Lagos State governor polled 1, 271 votes to defeat Amaechi who had 316 votes; Osinbajo took third position with 235 votes while Ahmad Lawan came fourth with 152 votes.
Yahaya Bello scored 47 votes to take fifth position.
Umahi scored 38; Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers polled 37 while Tunde Bakare, senior pastor of Latter Rain Assembly and Rochas Okorocha scored zero vote each.
A total number of 2, 203 (Two thousand, two hundred and three) accredited delegates voted at the election.
After several back and forth that included a rowdy accreditation process, proceedings got under way towards 8pm on Tuesday.
Subsequently, aspirants were asked to make speeches and in a remarkable turn of events, seven aspirants announced that they were stepping down for Tinubu.
The aspirants who stood down for the former Lagos State governor included Senator Ibikunle Amosun, former governor of Ogun State; Dr. Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State; Badaru Abubakar, governor of Jigawa State; Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senator Ajayi Boroffice.
Others were Dimeji Bankole, former speaker of the House of Representatives and Uju Ken Ohanenye, the only female aspirant in the mix.
Similarly, former senate president, Ken Nnamani and Felix Nicholas, a US based pastor both stood down for Yemi Osibanjo.
The result brings an end to what has been weeks of drama and intrigues that saw Adamu Abdullahi, national chairman of the party first announced to National Working Committee (NWC) members that Ahmad Lawan had been chosen as consensus candidate.
The announcement followed series of meetings at the State House, Abuja, the party’s national secretariat and other locations in a plot to foist Lawan.
But it collapsed like a pack of cards, as the declaration of Lawan as consensus candidate was rebuffed by the northern governors who insisted on their earlier position that power must shift to the southern part of the country.
The northern APC governors who had declared their support for power shift to the south, moved swiftly to meet President Muhammadu Buhari who told them he had not endorsed any aspirant.
The governors later issued a statement restating their commitment to power shift to the south.
They subsequently drew up a list of five aspirants, including Tinubu, Amaechi, Osinbajo, Fayemi and David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi State for Buhari to choose from. The move was, however, opposed by seven aspirants.
In the end the party decided to throw the contest open, and as proceedings began, as much as seven aspirants stood down for Tinubu, which was a clear indication of what was to come.
Tinubu, having emerged victorious on the night, would face Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in what promises to be a breathtaking contest for presidency in 2023.
Also in the contest is Mr. Peter Obi, former Anambra State governor who clinched the Labour Party ticket after leaving the PDP.
Obi who was the running mate of Atiku in 2019 election is popular among the youth population who are agitating for a new political order, but it remains to be seen whether he can match the two leading candidates of the ruling party and the main opposition party.