I still remain SDP presidential candidate – Duke
Against the backdrop of the Social Democratic Party’s endorsement of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, Donald Duke has insisted that he remains the presidential candidate of the party.
SDP on Thursday announced it had adopted the President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its presidential candidate for the 2019 general election.
Duke was the SDP’s presidential candidate before a Court in Abuja declared Jerry Gana the winner of the party’s primaries. Although Duke was reinstated by the Court of Appeal in January, his party proceeded to endorse Buhari. The former Cross River Governor noted in a statement that the decision of the party was due to the protracted legal squabbles within the party which prevented them from having a “decent campaign”.
Despite the party’s resolution, Duke asserts that he remains the recognised presidential candidate of the SDP.
“Regardless and for the avoidance of doubt, I Donald Duke, remain on the ballot and candidate of the SDP as recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
“This unfortunate saga is as a result of an aspirant who lost at the party primaries on Oct. 6, 2018, 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 does not belong to any party and therefore not for a party to zone,” he said.
He called the decision of the SDP executive council to align the ruling APC in the presidential election unfortunate as it denies the party members and the electorate an alternative that is believable.
“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.”
Duke said he joined the SDP because the party was untainted and the he wanted country to have an alternative to the current political class including APC and his former party, the People’s Democratic Party, that has ruled the nation.
“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,” Duke said.
“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,” Duke said.