Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has debunked the report that he filed a lawsuit against the PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, challenging his emergence as the party’s flagbearer.
Wike allegedly filed the lawsuit alongside Michael Ekamon, a PDP member, against Atiku, the PDP, Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal and Nigeria’s electoral body INEC.
But in an interview with ThisDay, the governor denied taking any legal steps against anyone respecting the result of the PDP’s primary election. He said he does not know the lawyers who might have filed the lawsuit.
“I don’t know anything about the so called suit. I did not ask anyone to file any suit for me,” he said.
“I don’t know the lawyers,” he added. “Am I a kid to be filing a suit at this time? I had 14 days after the primary within which to have filed any suit. I didn’t do that then, is it two months after primary I will file a suit?
Wike attributed the report to mischief makers, citing another matter he said was falsely reported about him.
“Just yesterday they came up with the claim that I ordered my Chief Security Officer to pull down PDP flag in Government House. This is all false, it’s all propaganda. Some people are trying to use me to win the election. Please disregard all these lies,” he said.
Wike was aggrieved by the outcome of the PDP’s primary election after Tambuwal stepped down from the race for Atiku, and has since refused to support the former vice president’s presidential ambition.
According to legal documents filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, which was published by ChannelsTV, Wike and Ekamon had asked the court to determine eight issues, including if it is illegal for votes originally meant for Tambuwal to be transferred to Atiku. In addition, the plaintiffs prayed the court to see whether Tambuwal lost his claim to votes the moment he stepped down for Atiku.
The co-applicants 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 are praying 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.
Efforts by the party to reconcile the characters involved in the infighting have proved futile. Wike has demanded the resignation of the PDP’s Chairman Iyorcha Aliu as his condition for peace.
But speaking at the commissioning of House of Assembly Quarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State governor maintained that he didn’t not take Atiku and the PDP to court as he is focused on his job.
“People have called me that I went to court against Atiku Abubakar,” he said. “I want to state categorically that I didn’t go to court. I just want to say it for Nigerians to know. I have kept quiet. I am busy with delivering the dividends of democracy.
“If they lose election, nobody should call my name. I have told the candidate.
“If I wanted to go to court, I would have gone to court within two weeks. It is the candidate’s group that are doing all these things. Let the world hear. They are the ones plotting all these things, thinking they will spoil my name.
“We are supposed to be talking about winning election.”