Former governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, has said that he remains the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), vowing to present himself for the February 16 poll despite SDP’s NEC endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Duke disclosed 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.
“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.
“What is more worrisome for our nascent party is its inability to rein in its members, particularly sore losers. Internal management of party affairs has been the bane of our democracy.
“My decision to run on an untainted political platform rather than on one which I was a founding member is grounded on a desire to afford our electorate and indeed our nation a clean break, options and alternatives to her current gladiators.
“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.
Below is a copy of the statement Duke released on Friday:
You will recall that on Thursday, the SDP NEC announced the party’s withdrawal from the presidential race while adopting Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, for the poll, explaining that the decision was based on the protracted legal issue facing the party.
The party said that it cannot embark on a proper because of the protracted legal issue withing warring party members, and for this reason feels that it is impeccable to technically withdraw from the presidential election.
The SDP explained that it wants to focus on the National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assemblies election for which it is fielding candidates across Nigeria.
“We are therefore adopting Buhari, the APC Presidential candidate, as our preferred candidate for the Feb. 16 election,” a statement by the party had disclosed on Thursday.
All efforts by Concise News to reach the party’s secretariat for reactions to Duke’s decision have so far proven abortive.
In a related development, Concise News had reported earlier today that the National Chairman of SDP, Chief Olu Falae, has resigned from the party and as well quit active politics.