Falae and Duke with rival, Prof Jerry Gana
The crisis in the Social Democratic Party, SDP, has taken another toll following the endorsement of President Buhari yesterday by a faction of the party. This time it is the National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae. He has stepped down as Chairman of the party and with it politics. I
After announcing its endorsement of Buhari yesterday, the faction said it would still supports its candidates running for the governorship, state and federal legislative seats in the country.
But former governor of Cross River, Mr Donald Duke, rejected that position on Friday at a press briefing. He said he is still the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and would present himself for the Feb. 16 poll.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Duke said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos, while reacting to the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to withdraw from the election and adopt President Muhammadu Buhari as its preferred candidate.
He said: “Regardless and for the avoidance of doubt, I Donald Duke, remain on the ballot and the 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.
Duke identified internal management of party affairs as the bane of the nation’s democracy.
He said his decision to run for the presidency was to afford the electorate a credible alternative.
“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.
“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.