Governor Wike Sues Atiku, Tambuwal To Court Over PDP Presidential Primaries

By Damilare Adeleye

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has filed a law suit seeking judicial nullification of Atiku Abubakar as Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate.

The governor who also dragged Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State to count over his conduct during the Party's presidential primary election held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022, argued that there were fraudulence during the primaries.

While Wike, a presidential aspirant, and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon, are listed as the plaintiffs, the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Governor Tambuwal and Former vice-president President Atiku are listed 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents respectively.

Recall that Governor Tambuwal, a presidential aspirant at the PDP last national convention stepped down for Atiku Abubakar, urging the delegates to vote for the latter.

Meanwhile, in the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, Wike and his co-applicant asked the court to determine eight issues including whether the purported transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku by the PDP was illegal and void.

While asking the court to determine if Tambuwal lost his claim to votes in the moment he stepped down for Atiku, the plaintiffs prayed the court to determine whether Tambuwal “having stepped down during the primaries ought to lose his votes.”

They argued that should these issues be determined in their favour, the court should grant nine reliefs including a declaration that the purported transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku be declared illegal.

The plaintiffs are also seeking a declaration that the PDP acted negligently and in bad faith by assigning the Sokoto governor’s votes to Atiku at the primary.

They prayed 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.”

They also prayed the court to declare that the PDP and Atiku took undue advantage of Tambuwal’s withdrawal when they allowed the Sokoto governor to persuade delegates to vote for the former Vice-President in the primary.

Wike and Ekamon asked the court to order INEC to reject or remove Atiku from “its list of candidates in the 2023 presidential election.”

They are also seeking an order directing the PDP to recount the votes of the primary that was held on May 28 and May 29.

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.”

Ekamon noted that he was a member of the PDP and attested to the fact that Wike won the presidential election.

He maintained that Tambuwal withdrew from the contest after voting had commenced and directed that his votes be assigned to Atiku.

“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),” part of the court document read.