A former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has said he would run for the office of Nigerian president on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Mr Duke, a two-term governor of Cross River State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had been expected to run on the party’s platform.
He, however, announced his decision at the national secretariat of the SDP on Tuesday afternoon where he was received by the national secretary, Shehu Gabam, the publicity secretary, Alfa Mohammed, amongst others.
He said he left his party of about 20 years because it had derailed and lost its values and was not the same party he joined back then.
Mr Duke’s tenure in Cross River is remembered by many Nigerians for massive projects like the Tinapa resort and the Obudu cattle ranch; both of which have been mired in controversy since his exit.
On Tuesday, Mr Duke expressed delight with the SDP, saying politics is not a game but the greatest human occupation ”because it grounds every other occupation.”
“Politics is not a game, ordinarily it is the most human occupation. So whether you are a doctor or teacher, at the end of the day, politicians will guide you on how to perform. It is supposed to be the most noble occupation.
“I think it’s no longer news that I am vying for the office of the president of Nigeria. I am running for president on the platform of SDP.”
Speaking on why he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he said the party had lost is values and is no longer what it was when he joined.
“Over the years we have seen not only the misfortunes of a party, we have also seen the values. A party we joined in 1998 is not the same party today. If a former president can walk away from the party (Olusegun Obasanjo), you should know that there is a problem somewhere.
“The PDP lost the ideas it had. They were the first national party Nigeria had, but it became a shadow of itself,” he said.
The deputy national chairman of SDP, Abdul Isaq, while welcoming Mr Duke, described him as a thinker and ”a very resourceful person”.
“I want to welcome His Excellency to this very exciting visit. The SDP is a very disciplined party. You are a thinker and a very resourceful person and it’s a privilege to have you here,” he said.