Wike Drags Atiku, Tambuwal To Court, Asks INEC To Recognize Him As PDP Candidate

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has sued the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP over the party’s presidential primary, which was held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.

Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon, are named as plaintiffs in the FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022 suit. The PDP is listed as the first respondent in the originating summons, while the Independent National Electoral Commission is listed as the second respondent. Tambuwal and Atiku are the third and fourth respondents, respectively.

When aspirants were asked to address delegates during the PDP presidential primary, Tambuwal asked them to vote for him only to return moments later to ask them to vote for Atiku.

Atiku received 371 votes in the primary, while Wike and Bukola Saraki received 237 and 70 votes, respectively. Following the convention, PDP National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu referred to Tambuwal as the “hero of the convention.”

Wike and his co-applicant asked the court to rule on eight issues, including whether the PDP’s purported transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku was illegal and void.

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The plaintiffs asked the court to rule on whether Tambuwal lost his right to vote when he stepped down for Atiku.

He asked the court to rule on whether Tambuwal “ought to lose his votes because he stepped down during the primaries.”

Wike and Ekamon argued that if these issues were resolved in their favor, the court should grant nine reliefs, including a declaration that the alleged transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku was null and void.

The plaintiffs also want a declaration that the PDP acted negligently and in bad faith when it assigned the Sokoto governor’s votes to Atiku during the primary.

They requested that the court “cancel the transfer of votes and issue a corresponding order restraining the 3rd respondent’s (Tambuwal’s) withdrawal in the primary after voting had begun.”

The applicants also asked the court to rule that the PDP and Atiku exploited Tambuwal’s withdrawal by allowing the Sokoto governor to persuade delegates to vote for the former.

Ekamon stated in a supporting affidavit that he was a member of the PDP and attested to Wike winning the presidential election.

He claimed Tambuwal withdrew from the race after voting began and directed that his votes be assigned to Atiku.

According to court documents obtained by Punch, “The third respondent (Tambuwal) speaking twice before stepping down from the contest, persuaded all his delegates who were going to vote for him to vote for the 4th respondent (Atiku).

“The 1st (PDP) and 4th (Atiku) respondents who also wanted the votes desperately agreed with the 3rd (Tambuwal) and assigned 3rd (Tambuwal) respodnent’s votes to the 4th (Atiku) respondent and increased his votes to win the 2nd applicant (Wike).

“The 2nd applicant (Wike) won the primaries if the votes of the 3rd respondent (Tambuwal) had not been transferred or assigned to the 4th respondent (Atiku).

The PUNCH also disclosed that the court processes were served on the PDP at its Wadata Plaza headquarters in Wuse Zone 5, with a copy also delivered to Atiku’s Maitama campaign office and the Sokoto State Government’s Liaison Office by the court bailiff.

Since his defeat in the presidential primary, Wike has been at odds with Atiku and Tambuwal.

He had chastised the PDP for allowing Tambuwal to canvass votes for Atiku after he had already spoken at the convention.

“If I wanted to scuttle the convention, I could have done that and I told them… I have never seen how people can violate procedures and guidelines. Somebody had spoken. It is only at that point he was speaking that he could say I have withdrawn. You don’t call him back,” Wike stated

Following the primary, Atiku was advised to select Wike as his running mate. However, the former Vice-President chose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate, which exacerbated the party’s crisis.

Wike and his governors are said to have demanded the resignation of the PDP national chairman as a condition for campaigning for Atiku. They contended that the party’s top positions are all held by northerners, and that Ayu, who is from the North-Central, should resign as a concession to the South.

However, Ayu has stated that he will not resign until Atiku is declared the winner of the Presidential election next year.

When reached by phone, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba stated that he was not aware of the case and thus could not comment.

In addition, Atiku’s spokesman, Paul Ibe, stated that his principal had not yet been served and thus could not comment.

“We are not aware of the case and have not been served. When we are served, we will respond appropriately. However, the response will be done in the proper manner and not through the media,” Ibe stated.

Attempts to reach Wike on his cellphone were futile, as it indicated that the calls were being forwarded, despite the fact that he had yet to respond to a text message sent to his cellphone as of the time of filing this report on Thursday night.

Similarly, Mr. Kelvin Ebiri, the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media, could not be reached because his phone was not connecting, despite the fact that he had yet to respond to a text and WhatsApp message sent to him at the time of filing this report.

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