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Atiku, Tambuwal, PDP fault suit by Wike, Ekamon against primary

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal and the party have asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to either strike out or dismiss a suit filed by Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike and a chieftain of the party, Michael Ekamon.

Wike and Ekamon are, by the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, praying the court to among others, void Atiku’s nomination and to substitute him with the Rivers governors, who came second at the last presidential primary of the PDP.

In their joint notice of preliminary objection, Atiku, Tambuwal and the PDP are contending that the suit is incompetent and out to be rejected by the court.
They stated that “the instant suit as filed is unknown to law and/or not cognizable under a pre-election matter.

“The first applicant (Ekamon), having not participated in the primary election conducted by the National Executive Committee of the first respondent (PDP) lacks the requisite locus standi to institute this suit.

“The instant 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 pre-election dispute.

“The instant suit was not initiated by due process of the law,” they said.

On Wednesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted the motion by Atiku, Tambuwal and the PDP for extension of time within which to file all relevant processes in response to the suit and to deem all that have been filed as properly filed.

The motion was moved by their lawyer, Priscilla Ejeh, without objection from plaintiffs’ lawyer, Winifred Okoi.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) listed as the second defendant was not represented and was said not to have filed any process yet.

Justice Mohammed has adjourned till September 14 for hearing.

The plaintiffs, in their originating summons, raised eight questions for the court’s determination, among which includes whether the purported transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku by the PDP was illegal and void.

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

They are praying the court for, among others, 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.

They 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.

The plaintiffs want 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.”

Ekamon, in a supporting affidavit, stated 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.

“The third respondent (Tambuwal), speaking twice before stepping down from the contest, persuaded all his delegates who were going to vote for him to vote for the 4th respondent (Atiku).

“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 primary if the votes of the 3rd respondent (Tambuwal) had not been transferred or assigned to the 4th respondent (Atiku).”

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My vision is driven by the conviction that Governments primarily have responsibilities to perform and must be held to account on improved conditions that meet basic standards of living; employment generation and livelihoods sustainability; whilst balancing socio-cultural peculiarities of the various constituencies in the new world order.

Abiodun BORISADE is the last child of the 4 children of Late Justice Michael Ayorinde BORISADE and wife, Chief Mrs Oyeyemi BORISADE.
Abiodun holds a Bachelor of science degree in chemistry (1997 EKSU); A Masters degree in Environmental Management (Middlesex University, UK. 2002); A Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Lecturing (University of Bolton UK, 2006); A Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (International Institute of Journalism, University of Maiduguri 2019).

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Abiodun served as Technical Assistant to Ekiti government 2011, and is currently serving as special assistant on new media to ekiti state governor.

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