Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Wednesday became the first governor of a PDP state to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on the validation of his re-election by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
While no other PDP governor or the presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, has spoken on the verdict, Wike has chosen to behave like a sportsman, to stretch his hand of fellowship across the political aisle, even though the party said it would take the matter to the Supreme Court.
Wike’s congratulatory message was conveyed in a statement by Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, his Special Assistant on Electronic Media.
The PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja seeking the nullification of the victory of Buhari in the Feb. 23, 2019 poll.
But delivering judgment on the matter, Justice Mohammed Garuba dismissed all the grounds of the petition.
The governor urged Buhari to use his victory to work for all Nigerians, irrespective of their political leanings
Wike also called on the president to work toward the unity of the country.
The PDP on its own ridiculed the tribunal verdict and rejected it.
In a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the verdict as provocative, barefaced subversion of justice and direct assault on the integrity of our nation’s justice system.
“The party is particularly shocked that the tribunal failed to point to justice despite the flawless evidence laid before it, showing that President Buhari was not only unqualified to contest the election but also did not score the majority of valid votes at the polls.
“The PDP finds as bewildering that a court of law could validate a clear case of perjury and declaration of false information in a sworn affidavit, as firmly established against President Muhammadu Buhari, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
“The party is also rudely shocked that the Court took over the roles of the Respondents’ lawyers who clearly abandoned their pleadings by refusing to call evidence in defense of the petition. The court raked up all manner of excuses to make up for the yawning gaps occasioned by the total absence of any evidence from the Respondents.
“Nigerians and the international community watched in utter disbelief when the tribunal ruled that one need not provide a copy or certified true copy of educational certificate such individual claimed to possess, contrary to established proof of claims of certification.
“The party notes as strange that the court even went ahead to provide rationalizations in favour of President Buhari, even when all hard facts before it shows that he did not possess the claimed educational certificate and that the Army was not in possession of his WAEC certificate as claimed in the affidavit he deposed to in his Presidential nomination form.
“The PDP also described as shocking that the court approved the flawed declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the election despite evidence to show the perpetration of illegalities, manipulations, alterations and subtraction of valid votes freely given to Atiku Abubakar by Nigerians.
“Indeed, the pervading melancholic atmosphere across our nation since the verdict is a direct indication that the judgment has not fulfilled the desires and expectations of Nigerians.
“The PDP however encouraged Nigerians to remain calm and not to lose hope or surrender to despondency or self-help, as our lawyers are upbeat in obtaining justice at the Supreme Court”.
This is more so as the tribunal itself admitted that there are several errors in the judgment.