By Biodun Busari

Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has filed a lawsuit against the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; his Sokoto state counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP over the party’s presidential primary, which was held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29.

Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon, are named as complainants in the FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022 suit.

While PDP is listed as the first, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is listed as the second respondent.

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Tambuwal and Atiku are the third and fourth respondents, respectively.

The suit will not be unconnected with the drama at the party’s primary when candidates for the PDP presidency were asked to address the delegates during the primary election, and Tambuwal first demanded that they should support him by giving their votes to Atiku.

Atiku polled 371 votes in the primaries, compared to Wike’s 237 and Bukola Saraki’s 70.

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

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

He requested the court to rule on whether Tambuwal “deserved to forfeit his votes having stood down during the primaries.”

If these disputes are resolved in their favour, Wike and Ekamon claimed, the court should give nine respites, including a ruling that the supposed transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku is 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.

“The 1st (PDP) and 4th (Atiku) respondents who also wanted the votes desperately agreed with the 3rd (Tambuwal) and assigned 3rd (Tambuwal) respondent’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),” the suit partly reads.

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