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Wike stirs fresh crisis in PDP, drags party, Atiku to court over presidential primary

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Nyesom Wike

The division within the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is festering as the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has filed a lawsuit challenging the conduct of the party’s presidential primaries which was won by Atiku Abubakar.

Wike instituted the suit against Atiku, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP.

Wike and Newgent Ekamon, a PDP leader, are named as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit with the filing number FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is designated as the second respondent in the originating summons, while the PDP is identified as the first respondent. The third and fourth respondents on the list are Tambuwal and Atiku, respectively.

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 beg them to support Atiku.

Atiku received 371 votes in the primaries, 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.

Read also: 2023: Rivers APC claims Gov Wike in talks to work for Tinubu’s election

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

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

If these disputes are resolved in their favour, Wike and Ekamon want the court to give nine reliefs, including a ruling that the supposed transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku was unlawful.

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 primaries.

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 further 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 off “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 primaries.

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.”

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