PDP Crisis: Wike Drags Atiku, Tambuwal, INEC To Abuja Federal High Court
The Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike has sued the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; 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.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon, are listed as the plaintiffs. In the originating summons, the PDP is listed as the first respondent while the Independent National Electoral Commission is the 2nd respondent. Tambuwal and Atiku are listed as the 3rd and 4th respondents respectively.
During the PDP presidential primary, when aspirants were asked to address delegates, Tambuwal had asked them to vote for him only to return moments later to ask them to vote for Atiku.
At the primary, Atiku polled 371 votes while Wike and Bukola Saraki garnered 237 and 70 votes respectively. After the convention, the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, described Tambuwal as the “hero of the convention.”
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.
Governor Wike’s suit is coming at a time a reconciliation panel has commenced sitting to resolve a cold war between Atiku and Wike over the outcome of the presidential primary and the selection of a running mate by Atiku. The crisis escalated last week when Wike publicly accused Atiku of lying about the extent of the infighting while allegedly instigating attacks through Sule Lamido and others, calling them “attack dogs.” Governor Wike has been seething over the convention outcome for several weeks, and his anger intensified after Mr Abubakar passed him over for Ifeanyi Okowa as the vice-presidential candidate. Mr Abubakar said competence and loyalty weighed heavily in his considerations for a running mate.
The Rivers Governor came second during the primary, scoring 237 votes to trail Atiku, who polled 371 votes from the total 767 votes cast at the convention ground in Abuja. The Rivers governor blamed his defeat on Tambuwal’s decision to step down for Atiku at the last minute, describing the process as unfair — even though he did not argue that it violated the party’s standing rules.
The spokesperson of PDP and Atiku Abubakar has not yet commented on the suit.