Donald Duke reacts to court judgement removing him as SDP presidential candidate

Former Governor of Cross River, Donald Duke
Presidential Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Former Governor of Cross River, Donald Duke

The Presidential Candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP), Donald Duke, says he will appeal the judgement, removing him as the party’s presidential flag bearer.

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday declared Jerry Gana, a former Nigerian Minister of Information, as the presidential candidate of the SDP.

Mr Duke had been declared as the presidential candidate of the party after the primary election held in October 2018 in which Mr Gana was also an aspirant.

However, Mr Gana had instituted a case against the result in court, basing his case on the zoning and rotation formula of the party.

Giving his ruling, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf said: “In this instance, the party’s Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, is from the South and Duke is from the South too; the law is clear; there is nothing to write in-between.

“The law has crystallised that political parties should abide by the regulations which they have made by themselves.

“The claimant laid sufficient evidence to have the judgment in his favour; it is a clear violation of the party’s constitution; the court cannot wave right over illegality.”

“Duke’s votes were declared null and void and the judge declared that Gana was the winner of the election.

“The SDP was also ordered to forward Gana’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) as its candidate for the 2019 general election.

Mr Duke told journalists in Lagos that: “While we await a copy of the judgement for a detailed review, it is imperative we reiterate our constitutionally backed belief.

“Every Nigerian who meets the legal requirement is entitled to contest for the office of the President.”

“Any law that seeks to curtail or subvert that right under any guise is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.

“The delegates of our great party at its convention in October, overwhelmingly elected me as their presidential Flag-bearer

“Any attempt to subvert their wishes through the instrumentality of the courts will be challenged.

“As a Law abiding citizen, I urge my supporters and members to remain calm as we are confident that the decision of the Court will be upturned on appeal.

“We are optimistic that the Appellate Court will reach a decision that reinforces the essential tenets of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He said his optimism was in line with the wishes of members of the Social Democratic Party.

(NAN)

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