Donald Duke Shoots Down SDP Endorsement Of Buhari
‘I Remain SDP Presidential Candidate’ – Duke
The embattled presidential aspirant of the Social Democrats Party (SDP), Donald Duke, has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement by the SDP, insisting he remains the party’s presidential candidate.
The National Executive Council of the SDP had on Thursday in Abuja adopted President Buhari as its candidate ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
The SDP NEC hinged their decision on the lingering legal tussle between Duke and Prof. Jerry Gana who have been in and out of courts over who stands as the party’s authentic presidential candidate.
While SDP had earlier forwarded Duke’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its presidential candidate, the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 14 ordered INEC to drop the former Cross River governor and recognize Prof. Gana as the presidential candidate of the party.
But rather than forward Gana’s name to INEC as requested by the court, SDP snubbed the order. The development forced INEC to remove Duke’s name from their finalist, leaving the party with no official presidential candidate.
But reacting to the party’s endorsement of President Buhari yesterday, the former Cross River governor said he was still in the race and remains on the ballot of INEC for the polls.
Duke said in a statement he personally signed on Thursday: “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).
“This unfortunate saga, is as a result of an aspirant who lost at the party primaries on the 6th of October fair and square, does not query the conduct of the primaries but rather resorts to bigotry, querying my suitability to contest for the presidency on grounds that I come from “the wrong part of the country”. The Federal Court of Appeal has put this matter to rest. The office of President and any constitutional office for that matter, does not belong to any party and therefore not for a party to zone. What is more worrisome for our nascent party is its inability to reign in its members, particularly sore losers. Internal management of party affairs has been the bane of our democracy.
“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. I need not say more, suffice that I remain on the ballot and thereby still present myself as a candidate for the office of President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Thank you and look forward to your endorsement on the 16th of February 2019,” he said.