By Dapo Akinrefon, Steve Oko & Umar Yusuf
Amid confusion over the identity of the person who took the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to court, a former presidential aspirant on the party’s platform, Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe, has said he is behind the suit and not the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
His clarification came following Wike’s denial that he sued his party’s presidential flagbearer.
The governor, who is currently romancing All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftains, inviting them to commission projects in Rivers instead of his PDP colleagues, said he neither went to court nor asked anyone to file a suit on his behalf.
He also said reports of the suit emanated from Atiku’s people.
Wike made the comments in Port Harcourt, Friday, during the official commissioning of some projects.
“I want to state categorically that if I wanted to go to court, I will go to court. I have kept quiet and busy delivering dividends of democracy. If I wanted to, I would have gone to court within two weeks after the primary. Because that is a pre-election matter. It is the candidate’s group doing all these. And they’re not doing him any favour. But I wish them good luck,” he said.
But it was widely reported that a suit had been instituted against Atiku, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and the PDP over the conduct of the party’s presidential primary.
Atiku and Wike have been estranged since the former emerged as the PDP presidential candidate and the latter the first runners-up and Atiku, instead of picking Wike as his running mate in the 2023 election, chose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022, Wike and a chieftain of the PDP, Newgent Ekamon, were listed as plaintiffs. In the originating summons, the PDP was said to be listed as the first respondent while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was the second respondent. Tambuwal and Atiku were listed as the third and fourth respondents respectively.
Ekamon asked the court to determine eight points including whether the transfer of Tambuwal’s votes to Atiku in the primary was illegal and void.
Meanwhile, Ndukwe, a former Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, whose name didn’t appear in the suit, in an exclusive chat with Sunday Vanguard, claimed ownership of the suit.
He said he decided to take Atiku and PDP to court for gross violation of the party’s constitution on zoning.
The erstwhile presidential aspirant argued that PDP had over the years enshrined zoning in its constitution and observed the same for equity and justice but expressed shock that the party for no justifiable reasons decided to jettison zoning in choosing its presidential flag bearer for 2023.
The former Chief of Staff to Abia State governor said he had before the primaries gone to court to challenge the refusal of the party to zone its presidential ticket to the South.