Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Sunday, faulted the process that produced former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, alleged that Atiku’s emergence was heavily compromised by undue monetisation, adding that the PDP delegates gave their candidate slot to the highest bidder.
The group said it was disappointing that officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission showed up at the venue of the primary election at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja but failed to arrest anyone.
The group also warned the ruling All Progressives Congress to move against a northern candidate and make a southerner its presidential candidate “in the spirit of fairness and to preserve the unity of Nigeria”.
With the extension of the deadline for the submission of names of presidential candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the APC moved its presidential primary from end of May to first week in June while Nigerians keep a watchful eye to see who the party will put forward.
“According to reports, each of the 767 national delegates that voted at the MKO Abiola Stadium, venue of the presidential primary, allegedly got at least $35,000 from the aspirants. This allegation is yet to be debunked by the individuals so accused,” the group said.
Atiku secured the votes of 371 delegates to win the primary election. His closest rival was Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who polled 237 votes while former Senate President Bukola Saraki got 70 votes, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed polled 20 votes and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel secured 38 votes.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko described the presidential primary of the PDP as a “corruption fiesta”.
He said the withdrawal from the PDP race by former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi; and businessman Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; who both said the PDP had monetised the process suffices that the presidential primary was nothing but corruption fiesta.
“HURIWA condemns the conspiracy of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that pretended that it doesn’t know that bribes exchanged hands. The anti-graft agency sent its operatives to the primary venue but the exchange of dollar still happened as seen in several media reports. How shameful! HURIWA urges the EFCC top echelons in Abuja to prosecute the over 700 delegates that voted on Saturday/Sunday.
“HURIWA urges the APC to give its ticket to the South-East or at least the Southern region so as to preserve the unity of Nigeria or else if APC goes North like PDP, it is a vote of no confidence on the continuous existence of Nigeria.”