Okwe Obi, Abuja
|A former governor of Cross River State, Dr. Donald Duke, has vowed to appeal the judgement that nullified his candidature as the presidential standard bearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for next year’s election.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, had nullified the process that produced him as the party’s standard bearer following a court case filed by another aspirant, Prof. Jerry Gana against the SDP and four others in which judgement was given in favour of Prof. Gana.
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Gana, who scored 611 votes to come second, had claimed that Duke who scored 812 votes was not eligible for the contest, citing the party’s constitution which says the presidential candidate should come from the North while Duke is from the South South region of the country.
But in a statement released by Dr. Duke, he has promised to challenge the judgement, urging his supporters to remain calm and further expressing optimism about winning the 2019 election.
“While we await a copy of the judgement of the Federal High Court for a detailed review, it is imperative we reiterate our constitutionally-backed belief that every Nigerian who meets the legal requirement is entitled to contest for the office of the president and 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 the Social Democratic Party at its convention in October overwhelmingly elected Mr Donald Duke as their Presidential Flag-bearer and any attempt to subvert their wishes through the instrumentality of the courts will be challenged.
“As law-abiding citizens, the party and its validly-elected presidential candidate urge our members and supporters to remain calm as we are confident that the decision of the court would be upturned on appeal as the Appellate Court would reach a decision that reinforces the essential tenets of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the wishes of members of the Social Democratic Party,” he added.