Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has requested a court to announce him the winner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primary election and dismiss Atiku Abubakar from being the presidential candidate.
Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon charged Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP over the conduct of the presidential primary of the party that took place in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.
Atiku was announced winner of the primary election with 371 votes ahead of his closest opponent, Wike, who accumulated 237 votes. Former Senate President Bukola Saraki got 70 votes. Tambuwal stepped down from the contest and supported the former vice president before voting started.
In the case marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, Wike and Ekamon are listed as the plaintiffs with the PDP listed as the first respondent while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the 2nd respondent. Tambuwal and Atiku are listed as the 3rd and 4th respondents respectively.
In the originating summons, Wike and his co-applicant requested the court to decide eight issues including whether the alleged transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku by the PDP was unlawful and void.
The plaintiffs requested the court to decide if Tambuwal lost his claim to votes the moment he stepped down for Atiku.
He requested the court to decide if Tambuwal “having stepped down during the primaries ought to lose his votes.
Wike and Ekamon debated that should these requests be determined in their favour, the court should grant nine reliefs including a declaration that the alleged transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku be announced null and void.
The plaintiffs are also seeking a declaration that the PDP acted negligently and in bad faith by transferring the Sokoto governor’s votes to Atiku at the primary.
They requested the court to “cancel the transfer of votes and a corresponding order restraining the 3rd respondent (Tambuwal’s) withdrawal in the primary was done after voting had commenced.”
The plaintiffs also requested the court to announce that the PDP and Atiku took unlawful advantage of Tambuwal’s withdrawal when they permitted the Sokoto governor to persuade delegates to vote for the former Vice-President in the primary.
Wike and Ekamon requested the court to order INEC to reject or dismiss Atiku from “its list of candidates in the 2023 presidential election.”
They are also requesting an order directing the PDP to recount the votes of the primary that took place on May 28 and May 29.
Lastly, the applicants are seeking an order of the court “directing the 1st respondent (PDP) to declare the 2nd applicant (Wike), a presidential aspirant in the May 28 and May 29 primary as the winner of the aforesaid primary with a corresponding order directing the 1st respondent (PDP) to forward his name as the candidate to contest the presidential election in 2023.”
In a supporting affidavit he testified to, Ekamon said that he was a member of the PDP and testified to the fact that Wike won the presidential election.
He stressed that Tambuwal withdrew from the contest after voting had begun and ordered that his votes be assigned to 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).
“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 had said.
PDP spokesman Debo Ologunagba stated that he was unaware of the case and thus could not comment on it.
Wike has been at loggerheads with Atiku and Tambuwal since his loss in the presidential primary.
He had condemned the PDP for allowing Tambuwal to gather votes for Atiku after he had already been permitted to speak earlier at the convention.
Wike last week blamed Atiku of lying and sending ‘attack dogs’ after him.
The Rivers State governor noted that he will speak on the issues between him, the PDP, and Atiku before the general elections.
“When the time comes, I will speak and Nigerians will know what actually happened. And they will decide for themselves,” Wike said.
Atiku’s decision to reportedly ditch the recommendation of a PDP committee to select Wike as his running mate for Delta State governor Ifeanyi Okowa further destroyed their relationship.
Speaking at an TV interview last week, Atiku denied receiving a recommendation from a PDP panel vote to choose Wike as running mate and stated that he chose Okowa because he wanted someone he could work with “amicably”.