An FCT high court faults the purported election of Donald Duke and declares Jerry Gana, a former minister of Information, as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party for the 2019 election
A federal capital territory high court in Maitama on Friday, December 14 declared Jerry Gana, a former minister of Information, the winner of the presidential primary election of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, conducted on October 6.
The party had declared Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River, the winner of the election and its presidential flag bearer in the 2019 General Elections. The party said that Duke polled 812 votes while Gana had 611.
Nevertheless, Gana challenged the result in the court asking he be declared the winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution. Gana sought a declaration that Duke was not eligible to stand as a candidate in the party’s presidential primaries held on Oct. 6, in Abuja.
He also sought a declaration of the court that he ought to have been declared the winner of the SDP presidential primary election, having polled the highest valid votes in the said election.
Delivering judgement, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf held that the regulations contained in the party’s constitution were binding on every member and must be obeyed.
He held that the zoning and rotation formula as contained in the party’s constitution stipulated that both the chairman of the party and the flag bearer should not come from the same zone. “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,” he held.
Baba-Yusuf, therefore, declared Gana the winner of the SDP presidential primary election conducted on October 6.
He also declared Duke’s 812 votes null and void, and ordered the SDP to forward Gana’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the party’s flag bearer for the 2019 presidential election.
In addition, he ordered that Duke should stop parading himself as the party’s flag bearer for the elections as sought by Gana in his petition.
Gana had joined the SDP; Olu Falae, its national chairman; Shehu Musa Gabam, the national secretary; Tunde Adeniran, the chairman, SDP Presidential Screening Panel/ Deputy National Chairman, South; Duke and the INEC as defendants in the suit.
Indeed, all has not well in the camp of Duke. Recently, Junaid Mohammed, a Second Republic lawmaker, stepped down as his running mate. The veteran politician said he decided to step down because of the “many hassles of the SDP.”
Consequently, the SDP Gabam, who is also the national secretary of the party, as his running mate.
– Dec. 14, 2018 @ 14:59 GMT |