The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday described as a bluff the allegations by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike that the loyalists of the PDP candidate filed a suit in the court challenging Atiku’s victory in the presidential party primary.
Recall that the suit was allegedly instituted by Wike against the PDP presidential candidate; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP over the conduct of the presidential primary of the party which was held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, Wike and one Newgent Ekamon, were listed as the plaintiffs.
In the originating summons, the PDP was listed as the first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission is the second respondent while Tambuwal and Atiku are listed as the third and fourth respondents, respectively.
But the governor in a statement issued on Friday by his media aide,Kelvin Ebiri, explained that he was not aware of the suit.
He accused Atiku’s loyalists of initiating the court case.
Wike stated, “People have called me throughout this morning and said all kinds of things that I went to court against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. I want to say categorically, if I have a reason to go to court, I will go to court, but I didn’t go to court.
“Yesterday too, they said I removed all PDP flags at Rivers State Government House. But I just have to say these things for Nigerians to know that I have kept quiet, and I’m busy delivering dividends of democracy for my party to win election in Rivers State.
“But I want to tell the candidate; 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 that they will spoil my name; they cannot.”
Wike explained that if he wanted to take legal action against the outcome of the PDP presidential primary, it would have been prosecuted within two weeks after the primary when such pre-election matters were entertained.
He added, “I didn’t go to court; I have no reason to go to court. But those of you who are plotting and saying that I went to court, for you to have come out now to say Wike went to court, I say shame on you. Shame will be on all of you.
‘’I have told the candidate, you will win or lose this election because of the people around you. Anybody who knows me knows too well that if I was going to court, I would have gone to court within two weeks after the primary because it is a pre-election matter and after two weeks, you can’t go to court.’’
“The legal adviser of the party called me and told me that he knows that there is mischief going on. But that he knows me very well, if I’m going to court, it is not those kinds of lawyers that I would have used and I don’t even know the lawyers,” Wike further clarified.
He noted that there is a bigger challenge ahead, which is how to win the 2023 general election for the PDP, stressing that this should be the focus of all true lovers of PDP who want electoral victory.
“You’re supposed to be talking about how you will win the election. All these rent seekers around him are not doing him any favour. Rather, they are trying to prevent him from winning the election. But if that is what they wished, I wish them good luck.
“You see that I am not talking. I am doing my work, so leave me to do my work. Those concocting ideas everyday; social media cannot make you win elections.
“Election is about the people and by the people. Let those in Abuja with you (Atiku); tell them to go home and campaign for you to win the election. Leave Wike alone, enough is enough.”
Instead of planning how to win the 2023 election, Wike alleged that some governors were wasting time levelling accusations against him.
‘’When I see people talking about PDP today, I say to myself what is going on in this world. In the South-South, they all betrayed us. President Muhammadu Buhari wouldn’t have won the 2019 election because he won’t have had the spread.
“But all the states in the South-South made Buhari to have 25 percent. It was only Rivers State that did not give Buhari 25 percent;I am challenging anybody on it,” Wike said
But reacting to the governor’s comments, the media aide to Atiku, Paul Ibe said it is ridiculous for anyone to insinuate that the suit was instituted by Atiku’s camp.
‘’Why will the candidate of a party go to the extent of instigating a suit against anybody? It does not make sense since he (Wike) is making the allegations, he has to provide evidence,’’ he admonished.
“We are committed to the process for the resolutions of the issues. It is important that we do that for the good of the party for the unity and cohesion of the party and for the good of Nigerians who are looking up to the PDP as the major opposition party to wrestle power from the APC and turn around the broken social, economic and political fabric. We remain committed to that process,’’ the Atike spokesman said.
Commenting on the controversy, the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, defended the Rivers state governor, stating that APC masterminded the suit.
A statement on Friday by the Special Adviser to the PDP National Chairman on Media and Communication, Simon Imobo-Tswam, said Ayu stated this during the commemoration of the United Nations International Youth Day 2022, put together by the youth wing of the PDP in Abuja on Friday
Ayu said, “His Excellency, Gov. Nyesom Wike never took the party to court. It is the APC that did it. The first name in the case is a coordinator of the presidential candidate of the APC.
“We know very well that they don’t believe they can win any election. They have decided to divide you. But don’t let any APC manipulation divide you.
“They are the ones sponsoring false stories of the crisis in PDP. PDP has no crisis, it is a united party. Anyone who thinks they can come and brew a crisis here is deceiving himself. They should wait for us till next year. In February, we will show them that they are the ones with crises.
“I want to make this clear before people start saying: ‘Oh, Wike took the party to court.’ Wike is a strong party man.
“And I am happy that he came out immediately to deny that he took the party to court. And very soon, the truth will be revealed because it’s a criminal thing.”
The APC could not be reached for comment as its spokesman, Felix Morka, did not respond to calls. He had yet to reply to a text message seeking his reaction to Ayu’s allegation as of the time of filing this report.