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Wike Drags Atiku, Tambuwal to Court, Demands PDP Presidential Ticket

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State 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.”

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.

“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) respodnent’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 PUNCH learnt that the court processes had been served on the PDP at its Wadata Plaza headquarters located at Wuse Zone 5 while a copy had also been delivered to Atiku’s Campaign office in Maitama and the Sokoto State Government’s Liaison Office by the court bailiff.

Wike has been at loggerheads with Atiku and Tambuwal since his defeat in the presidential primary.

He had lambasted the PDP for allowing Tambuwal to canvass votes for Atiku after he had already been allowed to speak earlier at the convention.

“If I wanted to scuttle the convention, I could have done that and I told them… I have never seen how people can violate procedures and guidelines. Somebody had spoken. It is only at that point he was speaking that he could say I have withdrawn. You don’t call him back,” Wike had said.

After the primary, Atiku had been advised to pick Wike as his running mate. However, the former Vice-President decided to nominate Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate, a move that further deepened the crisis in the party.

Wike and his clique of governors have reportedly demanded the resignation of the PDP national chairman as a condition for them to campaign for Atiku. They argued that the all top positions in the party are being occupied by northerners and Ayu, who is from the North-Central must resign as a concession to the South.

However, Ayu has maintained that he would only resign after Atiku emerges the winner of the Presidential election next year.

When contacted on the telephone, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said he was unaware of the case and thus could not comment on it.

“I’m just hearing about this case from you. I have not seen the process and thus cannot comment on it,” he said.

Also, Atiku’s Spokesman, Paul Ibe, said his principal had not yet been served and thus could not comment on the matter.

“We are not aware of the case and have not been served. When we are served, we will respond appropriately. However, the response will be done in the proper manner and not through the media,” Ibe said.

Effort to reach Wike on his mobile telephone proved abortive, as it indicated that the calls were being forwarded, even as he had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile as of the time of filing this report on Thursday night.

Similarly, Mr. Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant on Media to the Governor could not be reached as his mobile phone was not connecting, even as he had yet to reply to a text and WhatsApp message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

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Ebonyi Rally: Atiku Reiterates Commitment to Restructuring, Devolution, Says APC Deceitful

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Former Vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, pledged his total commitment to power devolution and restructuring if elected the president, next month.

Atiku spoke while addressing a mammoth crowd of PDP supporters at Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

While noting that the people of the South-East zone, had been clamouring for restructuring to enable them have more powers to deal with their local affairs, the presidential hopeful assured the people that restructuring and devolution of power would be a major policy of his administration.

He described the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a deceitful alliance and not a political party, even as he claimed the alliance that brought APC had collapsed.

He said the APC promised to restructure the Nigeria but failed to do so.

Atiku said: “I am committed to power devolution and restructuring. All the South Eastern states have been yearning and have been propagating for restructuring of this country because they want to have more powers, more resources to deal with their own local affairs. We agree entirely and that is why it is a major policy of our government, if you support us and if you give us the opportunity.

“APC had promised the same. Did they do it? They abandoned the issue of restructuring, they are very deceitful alliance, very deceitful.

We are committed and we mean what we say and if you give us the support, we will deliver.

They said some people formed a party, it is not a party. It is an alliance and the alliance is collapsing and it has collapsed”.

He promised to empower women and youths to take over power from old politicians if given the mandate to be president of the country.

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Niger Delta Will Benefit from Our Resource Control Agenda – Atiku

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Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday said if voted into office, his administration would change the security architecture in the country and grow the economy.

He gave the assurance at the party’s Presidential Campaign in Delta held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

Abubakar said that between 1999 and 2015, PDP grew Nigeria’s economy and made it the largest in Africa, but that the All Progressives Congress (APC) destroyed it with its inept leadership.

He said that with adequate security and right economic policies, a PDP administration led by him would attract Foreign Direct Investment that would grow the nation’s economy, adding that the security of the country was paramount because no nation could develop without security.

He told Deltans that the team was not in the state to campaign, saying “we are here to show our gratitude and appreciation to say that we are with you in all respects because of the support we have received from you from 1999 to date.
“All through my political journey, Delta state has always supported me and I want to promise you that I shall not betray the trust of Delta and the entire Niger Delta.

“That is why in my modest appreciation, I chose one of you as my vice presidential candidate and you know that a running mate is always a stepping stone.

“Therefore it is up to you to show your support by giving Governor Okowa the massive support to enable us to rescue and rebuild our dear country.”

On his policy document, the PDP Presidential flag bearer stated that his administration would pay attention to developing the education sector, and promised that under his watch, strikes by members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would be eradicated.

“The Niger Delta and other parts of the country will benefit from our resource control and restructuring agenda because it is our intention to devolve more powers to the states and local governments to tackle peculiar challenges facing the people.

“The APC government has disunited Nigeria in all aspects and it is our commitment to restore the unity of this country by ensuring that every part of this country has a sense of belonging.

“You must believe in PDP because as a party we built the biggest economy in Africa until the APC came and destroyed it in 2015.
“Why vote for the same party that has suffered us in the last seven years plus? Let us vote them out to unite and rebuild our country again,” he said.

The Vice-Presidential Candidate of the party and Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, said that Atiku knew how to address the socio-economic challenges bedevilling the country and urged the people to vote for the party.
According to him, we all know that the APC-led Federal Government brought poverty to the nation; they destroyed our economy to the extent that Nigerians are now hungry, without food to eat.

“How can a bag of rice be sold for almost N50, 000? It is only Atiku that can solve the problems in the country because when the PDP took over the reins of power in 1999, Atiku and Obasanjo were able to restore the nation’s lost glory.

“Atiku has assured Nigerians that he will revive the economy of the country and reposition it for optimum productivity in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“For over 20 years, Atiku has been advocating for the restructuring of Nigeria where states and local governments will get more money that will stimulate growth and development and this is what we want in the Niger Delta.

“Atiku has also promised that his administration, if elected, will put in place a constitutional framework that will enable states to have State Police so as to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

“Atiku is an experienced politician that has the capacity and pedigree to reset the country and I call on all eligible voters in the state to ensure that they have their PVCs to enable them vote in the forthcoming general elections,” Okowa stated.

National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, on his part, congratulated Deltans for the choice of Okowa as Vice-Presidential Candidate and lauded previous governors of the state for their contributions to the growth and development of the state.

He called on sons and daughters of the state to vote massively for all PDP candidates in the general elections.

The rally was attended by former Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Douye Diri of Bayelsa and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa.

Earlier, Atiku Abubakar had held a meeting with traditional rulers in Delta, at their Secretariat in Asaba, and assured that if elected, he would ensure that clear constitutional roles were given to monarchs in the country.

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Atiku Campaigns in Bayelsa, Promises Devolution of Power, Restructuring

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has promised the Niger Delta people that his administration will devolve powers from the centre and restructure Nigeria if elected.

Atiku, who spoke at the campaign rally of the PDP in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday, noted that the people of the region had been clamouring for resource control and the restructuring of the country and that his government, when elected, would accede to their demands.

He reiterated the implementation of his five-point developmental agenda for the nation, which he listed as the unification of the country, tackling insecurity, the economy, ending the strike in universities, and restructuring.

He said, “I promised to tackle insecurity. Here in Bayelsa State, you have faced a number of security challenges. You have lost so many people due to breaches of law and order. I promise I will restore security in this country.

“We proposed to restructure this country. You people in the Niger Delta need more restructuring than any other part of this country. We will give you more resources and more powers to deal with your problems. You don’t have to always start begging the Federal Government.”

In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, said Atiku was the only presidential candidate who had pledged to give the Ijaw people, and indeed the Niger Delta, restructuring.

Diri said partly, “Now, the only candidate who has keyed in and who has talked about what the Ijaw people want and what the people of Bayelsa want is Atiku; we have been talking about: resource control, Atiku is the only candidate that has talked about the restructuring of this country. Therefore, Atiku and the PDP are the only candidates and parties for which the Ijaw people will vote.”

Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, called on the people of Bayelsa State to give the party no fewer than 700,000 votes, while the geopolitical zone should deliver at least five million votes for the PDP at the presidential polls.

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