A former governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke, has insisted that he is still very much in the presidential race and on the ballot for the 2019 elections.
The National Executive Committee of the Social Democrats Party (SDP) had on Thursday met in Abuja and endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its presidential candidate.
Reacting in a statement to newsmen, Donald Duke described SDP’s endorsement of Buhari as unfortunate, adding that it betrays the desire of a majority of party members.
He said, “This afternoon, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Social Democrats Party (SDP) came up with a decision to endorse the APC and its candidate, President Mohammadu Buhari, for the February 16th Presidential election. This decision has arisen according to the party, as a result of protracted legal squabbles within the party which has made the party unable to commence a decent campaign.
“Regardless and for the avoidance of doubt, I Donald Duke, remain on the ballot and the candidate of the SDP as recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“My decision to run on an untainted political platform rather than on one which I was a founding member, is grounded on a desire to afford our electorate and indeed our nation a clean break, options and alternatives to her current gladiators.
“For the SDP NEC to thereby endorse the APC or any other party, is rather unfortunate and betrays in my opinion, the desire of the vast majority of our party members and Nigerians credible alternatives to our nation ’s leadership.”
The SDP has been entangled in a court case over who is the flagbearer of the party during the February 16 presidential election.
The Appeal Court on January 24, affirmed the former Cross Rivers State Governor as the authentic presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), overturning an earlier judgment declaring Prof. Jerry Gana the candidate of the party.
The court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, set aside the December 14, 2018 judgment of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court which had declared Gana the candidate of the party.
The party had declared Duke, the winner of the election and its flag bearer for the 2019 General Elections.
The party said that Duke polled 812 votes while Gana had 611.
However, Gana went to court seeking that it would declare him the winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution.
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