GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has broken ranks with his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari following his victory at the Presidential Elections Tribunal yesterday.
In a messy legal battle that has ensued between President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP, which fielded former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as it presidential candidate, the two parties have been at each other’s throats since February’s polls. Alhaji Abubakar lost the elections to President Buhari but has refused to accept the result and sought legal redress before the election tribunal.
After over three months of sitting, the tribunal finally pronounced judgement yesterday, declaring that President Buhari was duly elected in the February 23 presidential elections. It also said it has come to an inevitable conclusion that the petitioners have not proved any of the grounds of the petition as known by law and consequently discarded the petition in its entirety.
However, the PDP has rejected the judgement and has vowed to appeal it in the Supreme Court, saying it is confident that the ruling will be overturned. At odds with the party, however, Governor Wike has accepted the judgement, becoming the first governor of a PDP state to congratulate President Buhari on his victory.
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.
In his congratulatory message, Governor Wike urged President Buhari to use his victory to work for all Nigerians, irrespective of their political leanings. He also called on the president to work toward the unity of the country.