Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has resolved the crisis over the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in favour former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke.
In a unanimous judgment, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of a decision of the Federal High Court which had declared erstwhile Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana as the party’s presidential candidate.
Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, who delivered the judgment of the FCT High Court, held that Duke was not the authentic candidate of the party, having emerged from a process said “to be contrary to the party’s provision for the primary election.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the FCT High Court, Duke had approached the court to set it aside and to declare him as the party’s presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, the court has awarded the sum of N500, 000 as cost against the former Information Minister.
The three-man panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki held that the application is illegal and unconstitutional, which ought not to have been entertained by the lower court. The court held that the position of Gana in Section 18 of the party’s amended constitution contravenes the electoral acts stipulation for the validity of a candidate in any election
The court also held that the amendment relied upon by Gana did not take effect until October 8, 2018, two days after its ratification and the election of Duke as the party’s candidate was in line with Section 222 of the electoral act.