The Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has termed the sudden withdrawal of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State during the PDP Presidential primaries as dubious, claiming the election was rigged.
This was contained in a statement by PANDEF National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson on Sunday evening.
Atiku emerged the Presidential candidate of the PDP for the 2023 general election on Saturday.
Just as the main voting was about commencing, Governor Tambuwal climbed the podium to announce his decision to step down from the race.
He further asked delegates, who were there to vote for him, to instead support the former Vice President.
At the end of the day, Atiku polled a total of 371 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who garnered 237 votes.
Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki scored 70; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, scored 38; Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, polled 20 votes; Anyim Pius Anyim scored 14, Sam Ohabunwa polled 1 and Olivia Tariela also scored one vote.
“The outcome of the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party was predetermined,” PANDEF said, adding that it knew long ago this was going to be the outcome of the presidential primary of the main opposition.
The group said for this reason, the PDP had violated its zoning principle and left the party’s presidential ticket open to every region.
“The way and manner Governor Aminu Tambuwal was allowed to announce his withdrawal and support for the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, was, to say the least, dubious and most unfair.
“Why was Tambuwal allowed to do that after all aspirants had made their speeches and voting was about to commence?
“It is also essential to note that the exercise was rigged ab initio; there was no level playing ground.
“The scale was skewed; they had one delegate from each of the 774 local government areas of the country, and of course, we know there are more local government areas in the North than the South, and given the swerving undercurrents of politics, the former Vice President was guaranteed to win the primary election.
“It is these situations that informed our insistence on the zoning of the presidential ticket for fairness, equity and balance.”