Atiku, PDP ask court to dismiss Wike’s suit

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, versus Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

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

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

A copy of the court processes was obtained by journalists on Wednesday.

The three defendants in their joint objection to the suit, predicated their objections on four cardinal grounds.

Part of the objections filed on their behalf by Ayo Kunle Ajibade (SAN), was that the instant suit as filed was unknown to law and not cognizable 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 this suit.

Atiku, PDP and Tambuwal also 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 an order of the court striking out or dismissing the suit in its entirety for want of jurisdiction.

Wike had allegedly dragged the PDP, Atiku and Tambuwal to court 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, were the two plaintiffs.

In the originating summons, PDP was listed as the first respondent while the Independent National Electoral Commission is the 2nd respondent.

Tambuwal and Atiku were listed as the 3rd and 4th respondents respectively.

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.”

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