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SDP says Tinubu must pass integrity test if he wants to join party

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
13 May 2022   |   2:20 pm
The leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has reeled out conditions for admitting other intending Nigerians seeking to vie for elective positions in the 2023 general elections on the platform of the party. Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the SDP acting national chairman, Chief Supo Shonibare, disclosed that the APC members and…

Bola Tinubu PHOTO: Twitter

The leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has reeled out conditions for admitting other intending Nigerians seeking to vie for elective positions in the 2023 general elections on the platform of the party.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the SDP acting national chairman, Chief Supo Shonibare, disclosed that the APC members and intending aspirants will have to be subjected to integrity screening

He, however, noted that all the candidates can collect the nomination forms from their state’s chapters or from the administrative centre in Abuja.

Shonibare disclosed that checks within their records shows that APC national leader Bola Tinubu is not a member of SDP and neither has he obtained the presidential nomination form of the party.

“The issue of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the last time I checked, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is not a member of Social Democratic Party,” Shonibare said.

“I checked on the list because the membership list of our party as INEC has required, has already been submitted by our State Chapters to us in Abuja. And his name is not on the membership list of those who are members of our party in Lagos State. That’s all I can say on the leadership of SDP. He’s not a member of SDP.”

While reiterating that the SDP leadership does not want the party “to be an opportunistic vehicle, Shonibare, however, maintained that: “definitely in instances where we’ve seen great injustices to an individual, who we feel that the individual is not coming to us with baggage, that individual will be welcome to our party. But we won’t welcome anyone who we feel that has a case pending in court. We won’t welcome anyone who we feel that has been convicted even if the person is actually now appealing that conviction.

“So we will try to ensure that those who we will welcome into our party, are men and women of integrity and make SDP to be succor for those who have been wrongly dealt with in their political parties provided those who are coming themselves have displaced integrity and honour in the way and manner they themselves have conducted themselves in government.

While responding to question on the trending report that Tinubu plans to join SDP, he said: “If he (Tinubu) wants to join, then the party has to make a determination whether the way and manner he actually managed the resources of state from where he started is consistent with the profile of the integrity that we said that needs to displayed by anyone that is coming to us.

“Remember, I said that we will welcome anyone who is not with us now, who feels they have been cheated in their political party. But then, in that process, we will look at that particular individual at that time.”

While responding to questions on the presidential candidates who have expressed interests, Chief Shonibare disclosed two aspirants (a man and woman) have so far obtained the expression of interest form.

He maintained that INEC lacks the powers to determine who is the authentic leadership of SDP, stressing that “INEC is not the court of law so INEC cannot determine at the end of the day, which is the rightful leadership of the party. It is the constitution of the party and the rules of the party and the determination of the court that will determine who is the legitimate leadership of the party.”

While giving update on the lingering crisis rocking the party, he said certain defectors from the People’s Democratic Party who joined SDP in 2018 led by Professor Jerry Gana met an existing body of elected officers of the party, adding that the tenure of the officers elected during the SDP national convention in 2016 had not expired.

“Bearing in mind the election guidelines rolled out by INEC. Following the intervention of several well-meaning nationalist leaders, we offered to joint process the screening of aspirants for the party’s primaries,” Shonibare said.

“Unfortunately, the matter has dragged on in court even as there is widespread anxiety because of INEC’s political timetable for the 2023 elections.”