Former Nigeria’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Saturday night was elected as the candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party for the 2023 presidential election.

Atiku Abubakar defeated 12 other candidates in a keenly contested presidential primary after he polled 371 votes ahead of his closest challenger, Governor Nyesom Wike, who polled 237 votes.

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki got 70 votes while Governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel, came fourth with 38 votes.

The only female in the race, Oliver Diana, and another contestant, Sam Ohuabunwa, scored one vote each.

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A former President of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim, scored 14 votes while Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, scored 20 votes.

The other contestants – including former Governor Ayodele Fayose and Magazine Publisher, Dele Momodu – got zero votes.

Twelve invalid votes were recorded.

Atiku’s chances of winning the primary were boosted minutes before voting commenced at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, after Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal withdrew from the contest and endorsed the former vice president.

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“Today, the battle to rebuild and unite our great country moves forward,” Atiku said after he was declared the winner of the primary. “I’m honoured to be named the @OfficialPDPNig candidate.

“I look forward to speaking with Nigerians across the country, taking the message of hope and unity as we build one future for one people.”

While Atiku’s victory at the primary is his second successive attempt, it also marked his fifth shot at the presidency. He has had other unsuccessful contests for the seat under both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his current party, the PDP.

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The Adamawa-born politician also secured the ticket of the PDP in 2019 but lost at the general elections to the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.

The former vice-president will again face whoever emerges from the forthcoming presidential primaries of the APC.