Wike sues Atiku, Tambuwal, demands recognition as candidate

The Rivers State Governor, has sued the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, ; the Sokoto State Governor, ; and the PDP over the conduct of the presidential primary of the party that was held was in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.

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

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When candidates for the PDP presidency were asked to address the delegates during the primary, Tambuwal first asked them to support him before coming back to ask them to support Atiku.

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

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

The plaintiffs requested that the court decide whether Tambuwal lost his right to vote after he resigned in favour of Atiku.

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

If these disputes are resolved in their favour, Wike and Ekamon argued, the court should grant nine reliefs, including a declaration that the purported transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku is void.

The plaintiffs are also asking for a ruling that the PDP committed negligence and bad faith by giving Atiku the votes cast by the governor of Sokoto in the primary.

In their request, they asked the court to “cancel the transfer of votes and a corresponding order restraining the third respondent’s (Tambuwal’s) withdrawal in the primary was done after voting had begun.”

The applicants also requested that the court rule that the PDP and Atiku abused the situation created by Tambuwal’s withdrawal by allowing the governor of Sokoto to influence delegates to support the former Vice-President in the primary.

Wike and Ekamon requested that the court order INEC to strike Atiku’s name from “its list of candidates in the 2023 presidential election” or to reject him outright.

Additionally, they are asking for a court order directing the PDP to recount the votes from the May 28 and May 29 primary.

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The applicants also ask the court to issue an order “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 mentioned his membership in the PDP and attested to Wike’s victory in the presidential election in a supporting affidavit to which he gave his deposition.

He insisted that Tambuwal left the race after voting began and instructed that his votes be given to Atiku.

 

“The third respondent (Tambuwal) spoke twice before withdrawing from the race and convinced all of his delegates to support the fourth respondent instead of him” (Atiku).

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

If the votes of the third respondent (Tambuwal) had not been transferred or given to the fourth respondent (Atiku), the second aspirant (Wike) would have won the primary.

It was discovered that the court papers had been served on the PDP at its Wadata Plaza headquarters in Wuse Zone 5 and that the court bailiff had also handed copies to Atiku’s campaign office in Maitama and the Liaison Office of the Sokoto State Government.

Since losing the presidential primary, Wike has been at odds with Atiku and Tambuwal.

 

After Tambuwal had already been given the opportunity to speak at the convention, he had blasted the PDP for allowing him to canvass support for Atiku.

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“I told them that if I wanted to ruin the convention, I could have done that… I have never understood how people could disregard rules and regulations. A voice had been heard. He could only say I have withdrawn at that point because he was speaking. Wike had remarked, “You don’t call him back.

Atiku had been advised to choose Wike as his running mate after the primary. However, the former Vice-President made the decision to name Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate, which exacerbated the party’s crisis.

According to reports, Wike and his group of governors have demanded the resignation of the PDP national chairman in order for them to support Atiku. They claimed that because the party’s top positions are all held by northerners, Ayu, who is from the North-Central region, must step down as a concession to the South.

Ayu, however, has insisted that he won’t step down until Atiku is declared the winner of the presidential race the following year.

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Debo Ologunagba, the PDP’s national publicity secretary, declined to comment on the case when reached by phone and stated that he was not aware of it.

“From you, I just learned about this case. I haven’t seen the procedure, so I can’t speak to it,” he stated.

Atiku’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, added that his principal had not yet received service of process and could not, therefore, comment on the situation.

“We have not been served and are unaware of the case. We will react suitably when we are served. Ibe promised that the appropriate course of action would be followed rather than using the media for the response.

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In spite of the fact that he had not yet replied to a text message sent to him as of the time this report was filed on Thursday night, attempts to contact Wike on his mobile phone were unsuccessful because it showed that the calls were being forwarded.

Similarly, despite the fact that he had not yet responded to a text message or WhatsApp message sent to him as of the time this report was filed, Mr. Kelvin Ebiri, the Governor’s special assistant on media, was unable to be reached because his mobile phone was not connecting.

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