PDP crisis: Court Asked to Dismiss Wike’s Suit Against Atiku

By Salihu Ali, Abuja

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The People’s Democratic Party PDP, its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal have asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a legal action instituted by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike challenging the last presidential primary election of the party.

Atiku, PDP and Tambuwal informed the court that Wike’s suit is frivolous, baseless, unwarranted and unknown to law.

In their joint objection to the suit, the three defendants predicated their objections on four grounds.

Part of the objections filed on their behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ayo Kunle Ajibade are that, the instant suit as filed is unknown to law and not recognisable under a pre-election matter.

They averred that the first plaintiff, Michael Newgent Ekamon, having not participated in the primary election conducted by the National Executive Committee of PDP lacked the requisite locus standi to institute the suit.

Atiku, PDP and Tambuwal further stated that the suit as brought by the applicants does not fall within the purview of Section 84 of the Electoral Act, as such does not qualify as a preelection dispute.

The fourth ground was that the instant suit was not initiated by due process of the law.

They therefore sought the order of the court to strike out or dismiss the suit in its entirety.

Wike’s suit

Wike has sued PDP, its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal over the conduct of the presidential primary of the party held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, Wike and the PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon, are the two plaintiffs.

In the originating summons, PDP is 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 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.

Wike 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.

Meanwhile, hearing in the suit has been fixed for September 14 by Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed.

 

 

 

Emmanuel Ukoh

 

 

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