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Court Sacks Duke, Declares Prof. Jerry Gana As SDP Presidential Candidate

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Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of an Abuja High Court, on Friday declared, Prof. Jerry Gana the rightful winner of the Presidential Primary election of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) conducted on Oct. 6, 2018.
Justice Baba-Yusuf consequently ordered the SDP to forward the name of Gana to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace that of its erstwhile candidate Donald Duke in the 2019 presidential election.
The court in addition, ordered that Duke should stop parading himself as the party’s flag bearer for the coming election.
The judge who gave the order while delivering ruling in a suit brought by Gana nullified the election that produce Duke on the grounds that it contravenes the SDP’s constitution.
Duke had emerged winner of the SDP Presidential Primary election having polled 812 votes over Gana’s 611 votes and was accordingly declared flag bearer of the party in the 2019 general elections.
But Gana dissatisfied with the process and outcome of the election had approached the court to declare him the winner and not Duke sighting the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution.
Delivering ruling on the matter yesterday, Justice Baba- Yusuf, held that the regulations contained in the party constitution was binding on every member of the party and must be obeyed.
He held that the zoning and rotation formula as contained in the party constitution stipulates that both the chairman of the party and flag bearer should not come from the same zone.
“In this instance, the chairman Chief Olu Falae is from the South and Duke is from the South too, the law is clear and there is nothing to write in between.
“The law has crystallized that political parties should abide by the regulations which they have made by themselves.
“The claimant has led sufficient evidence to have the judgment in his favour, it is clear violation of the party’s constitution, and the court cannot wave right over illegality” he held.
He held that the election was an exercise in futility and therefore declared Gana the winner of SDP’s party primaries conducted on Oct. 6.
Gana, had joined SDP; its National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae; National Secretary, Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam; Chairman, SDP Presidential Screening Panel/ Deputy National Chairman, South, Prof Tunde Adeniran; Duke and INEC as defendants in the suit.
Gana sought a declaration that Duke was not eligible to stand as a candidate in the party’s presidential primaries held on October 6 in Abuja.
He also sought a declaration of the court that he ought to have been declared as the winner of the SDP presidential primary election having polled the highest valid votes in the said election.
The former minister wanted an order of the court declaring him as the validly elected flag bearer of the party for next year’s general election.
Gana also sought a perpetual injunction restraining Duke from parading himself as the SDP presidential candidate for the 2019 election, among other reliefs.
He had argued that under Article 15(3) of the SDP Constitution, the office of the National Chairman of the party and the president shall rotate between the Northern and Southern parts of the country.

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