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SDP Chairmen Forum asserts Duke’s candidacy

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[FILE PHOTO] Donald Duke

Forum of state chairmen of Social Democratic Party (SDP) has said they are committed to continued support and mobilisation for Mr. Donald Duke, as the party’s presidential candidate in next year’s election.

The forum explained that the stand is in spite of the ruling of the Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, which nullified him in line with the Provisions of Article 15; 3(ii) of the Constitution of SDP 2018 as (amended).

In a statement yesterday, the forum’s chairman, Oke Idawene and Secretary General, Abubakar Dogara, said the judgment has no basis, considering that the court has no locus standi to deny and scuttle the inalienable rights of a presidential flag bearer, who was duly elected and returned as the party’s candidate.

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The forum recalled the provision in the Electoral Act, stressing that a party’s decision on the choice of its candidate is superior to any other consideration, pointing out that the party has a constitutional prerogative for final decision on such matters.

The forum therefore contended that the crux of the matter is that the court misinterpreted Article 15:3 (ii)(2) of SDP Constitution, which states that the office of the president and national chairman shall rotate between the South and North and among the six geopolitical zones.

It added: “What the overwhelming majority of delegates did on the 6th of October 2018 was to elect our presidential candidate and not president; otherwise, the only logical consequence of the court’s decision would be that Professor Jerry Gana be sworn in as President of Nigeria on 29h May 2019.”

The forum added that the issue is more of a political decision that amounts, first, to reading what was never written into our party constitution; and, second, to implicitly enshrining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) principles of political ‘zoning’ into the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

The statement reads: “That the forum of SDP state party chairmen, based on the above provision and clarification, will pursue to a logical conclusion the mandate given to us by thousands of party members from the 37 states of Nigeria, including Abuja, hereby rejects the Abuja High Court’s ruling against the wish and mandate of the party’s delegates who willingly and overwhelming handed the mandate of the people to Donald Duke at the October 6th 2018 presidential convention as required by the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It promised to stand by the party leadership and abide by the unanimous decision taken by the delegates and the mandate of the 37 state chapters, which overwhelmingly nominated and returned Mr. Donald Duke as the presidential candidate of the SDP during the party’s national convention and presidential primaries.


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