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Wike mocks Atiku, PDP leaders over protest at INEC headquarters in Abuja

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has mocked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar who led leaders of the party on a demonstration at the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protest the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

Wike, who spoke at the commissioning of Chokocho-Igbodo Road in the Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State on Monday March 6, 2023, said he warned the leadership of the party over its insistence that northerners hold onto the presidential ticket and national chairmanship seat of the party.

“While other people are demonstrating, I am commissioning projects. I have not gone to do demonstrations; my own is to commission projects and make my people happy,” Wike said.

The Rivers governor also commended the people for voting a southern President in the just-concluded elections.

According to him, Section 7(3)(c) of the PDP constitution recognised zoning and rotational presidency but the leadership of the party contravened the provisions of the party’s regulations.

“I owe nobody any apology at all. I am one of the apostles, one of those who stood firm that power must rotate to the South. This is for equity, this is for fairness and this is for justice.

“Whether you voted for Labour, I have no problem with you. Whether you voted for APC, I have no problem with you. That is what we have argued for: that the north has had it for eight years. Therefore the south must be there for eight years,” he said.

Months before the elections, Wike and four other PDP governors known as the G5 demanded the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, saying northerners should not be the PDP national chairman and presidential candidate.

Both Atiku and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.

For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) raked in Oyo, Benue, and Rivers.

INEC subsequently declared Tinubu as President-Elect after he came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival — Atiku.

Atiku, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented, finished the race with 6,101,533.

Both Obi and Atiku said the election was flawed and will be challenged in court. They faulted INEC for not uploading election results from polling units electronically to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.

“The weekend election was neither free nor fair. Preliminary assessments indicate that it is the worst conducted elections since the return to democratic rule. The manipulation and fraud that attended this election were unprecedented in the history of our nation,” the former vice president said last Thursday.

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