By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-FORMER governor of Cross River State,Mr Donald Duke,last night,emerged as presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP,in the 2019 election.

Donald Duke

Duke got a total of 812 votes in the keenly contested election to clinch the party’s ticket.

He was trailed behind by the former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Professor Jerry Gana,who scored a total of 612 votes.

The ex- Cross River State governor,who contested the party’s presidential primary among five other aspirants,was declared winner by the National Deputy Chairman of SDP and returning officer,Dr Ishaq Abdul,having secured the highest number of the party’s delegates votes during its national convention, yesterday.

Similarly, Mr John Dara,former Special Assistant to ex- Minister of Defence, General TY Danjuma,rtd, got 104 votes.

In the primary that had a total of 1726 delegates from across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,Abuja, Benue State born scholar,Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, came third having secured 72 votes.

On his part,Delta State born pastor, Amb.Felix Osakwe got 10 votes to come behind.

Voting at the primary began at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja.

Addressing party faithful before the commencement of the primary, National Chairman of the SDP,Chief Olu False, urged politicians to give priority to welfare of the masses and stop the disgraceful spread of political monetisation in our country.

Regretting that Nigerians had helplessly watched as those they elected into offices daily demonstrate ineffective and incompetent leadership,noting that it had resulted to what he called “social and food insecurity, lawlessness, impunity, insurgency, widespread corruption, nepotism and poverty.”

“Nigerians watch helplessly how ethnic and religious divisions reach a magnitude that threatens the very foundation of our nationhood.

“But, it is now time to halt such a dangerous march towards national collapse. We must return to politics where welfare of the people is central theme of social democracy.

“We must return to the stage where emphasis is on party manifesto, integrity, performance and service to the nation. We must halt the disgraceful spread of political monetisation in our country,”he added.

According to him,”Nigeria must be rescued now as the so-called major parties which have ruled Nigeria for nearly 20 years now havr failed the country.”

Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation,SGF,and Minister of Finance ,said the SDP was prepared for the rescue mission.

Hear him:“We are proud of our history and credibility. Our party’s policies are rooted in social justice and are people-driven, people-focused and designed to bring development and prosperity to the people.

“Our party recognises that the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of life are non-negotiable. “We are determined to work with the Nigerian people to ensure emergence of a new, credible and stable political process, engineered to harvest the beauty of democracy, good governance and produce genuine development,” he said. He added that SDP was built on the solid ideology of Social Democracy; anchored on social justice, human dignity, fairness, equity and inclusiveness.

“Our party’s ideology includes a shared prosperity with the imperative of democracy; and the security of peace with justice.

“The philosophy of Social Democracy places a great premium on the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life.”

The party’s National Deputy Chairman (North) and Chairman Electoral Committee, Dr Abdul Isiaq, who had read the election guidelines before voting commenced, said out of 1729 delegates, 1726 were accredited, while 3 were voided.

The primary election was witnessed by some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,led by Barrister Festors Okoye,INEC commissioner representing South East geopolitical zone.


By Amebo

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