Former Vice president and presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, says he already secured 11 million votes in the kitty ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This, he listed, as one of the reasons the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should give him the presidential ticket.
He stated this when he visited the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on Thursday, in Abuja, to “solicit the party’s support on his presidential ambition.”
“Under normal circumstances this is a guy who already has 11 million votes in his space. And I think as a party, you should give me the right of passage to use the votes,” he said beating his chest with cheers from supporters who filled the hall at the PDP Secretariat.
Mr Abubakar’s boast comes barely two days after supporters of another aspirant in the APC, Bola Tinubu, said they have secured 14 million votes for him in the South-west alone.
Although he lost out in the 2019 presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Abubakar garnered about 11 million votes in the poll. He did not, however, clarify if he was referring to those votes.
Reports from Nigerian elections , however, show an increase in voter apathy over the past years.
The former vice president admonished the PDP to “provide the right kind of leadership to present a good candidate.”
His call was swiftly followed by “…and I am the best candidate.”
He, however, noted that the PDP practises democracy and asked the NWC to be fair, transparent and credible in producing a flag bearer for the party.
The aspirant repeated his agenda for the country if elected president next year. These plans include uniting the country, tackling insecurity, reviving the economy and devolution of powers.
While he commended the NWC for hard work and excellent leadership, he urged the party to “come out in force and show Nigerians just how much the APC has, and will continue to fail.”
In his remarks, chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, asked to dismiss the notion that he will work for Mr Abubakar because they are friends.
“I will not work for you. I will work for all the 17 aspirants. It is left to you to convince thee delegates, market and sell yourself to the delegates,” he said.
He said the NWC will remain unbiased and will not take sides but that each aspirant will get the support of the party.
“I know each of you, if given the opportunity, will do better than what APC has been doing. At the primaries we will elect a candidate and we will all rally round that candidate,” Mr Ayu said.
He further assured that the PDP will work towards winning the election in 2023 and retaining power afterwards.
Mr Abubakar is one of 17 aspirants who have indicated interest in the presidential race.
The aspirants cut across different regions. Some of them are former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
Others are Anambra governor, Peter Obi, Pius Anyim, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose, renowned pharmacist, Sam Ohuabunwa, and Ovation Magazine publisher, Dele Momodu.
Although the party fixed May 28 and 29 to elect its presidential candidate, it is yet to zone the position to any section of the country.
The PDP has also not taken a position on the mode of primaries to adopt in electing its candidates for the February 2023 presidential election.