Wike: I do not sue Atiku, PDP


Rivers State Governor and a former presidential aspirants, Nyesom Wike, has denied reports that he sued the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate and a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

The governor, who scored the second highest number of votes at the party’s presidential primary, has been aggrieved since, contrary to his expectation, Atiku picked Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the Vice Presidential candidate for the 2023 election.

Declaring that he did not go to court neither did he ask anyone to file a suit on his behalf, he said that reports of the suit emanated from Atiku’s people.

Wike spoke in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Friday during the official commissioning of some projects in the state, while reacting to reports that he sued Atiku, the PDP and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, also a presidential aspirant at the party’s primary.

Tambuwal had stepped down during the primary and urged delegates from his state to vote Atiku – an act which aided Atiku’s victory and stirred crisis in the party and a rift between Wike and the presidential candidate.

Denying suing Atiku, Tambuwal and the PDP, Wike said mischevious people in Atiku’s camp had produced the report, saying: “I want to state categorically that if I wanted to go to court, I will go to court. I have kept quiet and busy delivering dividends of democracy.If I wanted to, I would have gone to court within two weeks after primary. Because that is pre-election matter.

“It is the candidate’s group doing all these. And they’re not doing him any favour. But I wish them good luck.”

He recalled that he called Atiku and said he (Atiku) will win or lose the 2023 election because of the people around him.

Wike further warned the people “behind the suit to let him be and allow peace to reign, even as he urged Atiku to caution “his people.”

“Tell those supporting you to go and commission projects to win their states…I have no reason to go to court. Those of you who put my name, shame will be on you. Leave Wike alone.”

His denial to the suit comes amid plans to reconcile him and Atiku.

Though the two have men met physically for the first time in months, the governor is asking that the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, be removed and the National Working Committee be reshuffled.

In a story titled “PDP Fight Gets Messier As Wike Asks Court To Remove Atiku As Presidential Candidate,” The Guardian had earlier reported that Wike had asked a court to declare him the winner of the PDP primary election and sack Atiku Abubakar from being the presidential candidate.

According to the report: Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon also sued Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP over the conduct of the presidential primary of the party that held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.

Atiku was declared winner of the primary election with 371 votes ahead of his closest challenger, Wike, who polled 237 votes. Former Senate President Bukola Saraki got 70 votes. Tambuwal withdrew from the contest and endorsed the former vice president before voting commenced.

In the suit 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 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.

The plaintiffs asked the court to determine if Tambuwal lost his claim to votes the moment he stepped down for Atiku.

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

Wike and Ekamon 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 null and void.

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.”

The applicants 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 commanding the PDP to recount the votes of the primary that was held 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 deposed to, 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 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.

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