- SDP has suspended its presidential candidate, Donald Duke
- The party also expelled former minister of information and factional presidential candidate of the SDP over alleged anti-party activities
- SDP had on Thursday, February 7, endorsed President Buhari as its consensus candidate for February 16 election
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has expelled former minister of information, Jerry Gana, and suspended its presidential candidate, Donald Duke, for alleged anti-party activities.
Premium Times reports that another chieftain of the party, Dipo Sonibare, was also suspended for similar allegations on Tuesday, February 12.
Legit.ng gathered that the party also restated its support and endorsement of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, blaming it on its inability to produce a clear presidential candidate for Saturday, February 16 election.
It also said it was looking beyond the presidential election and how it could ensure victory for its candidates for the National Assembly and Houses of Assembly seats across the nation.
The party has been embroiled in a battle of survival after the National Executive Committee of the party threw its weight behind Buhari, following its inability to resolve the contention between claimants to the party’s presidential ticket, Messrs Duke and Gana.
It was gathered that the issues further broke the party into factions shortly after its national chairman, Olu Falae, resigned his position, with a declaration that he was not in support of the endorsement of Buhari.
Tunde Adeniran, a former education minister, has since taken over as acting national chairman, but is currently facing another faction that has rejected his leadership.
The acting deputy national chairman (south) of the party, Olu Agunloye, confirmed the disciplinary actions on the party chieftains on Tuesday, February 12.
He, however, would not give details on the reasons for the action of the party’s leadership, saying that it would certainly border on issues revolving around recent controversies on the presidential election.
Speaking earlier to journalists in Akure on Tuesday, Agunloye, said only the Tunde Adeniran leadership is recognised by the constitution of the party and no other faction could assume the party’s leadership.
He also noted that the factionalisation of the party arising from the endorsement of presidential candidates should not overshadow the main objectives of the party to offer a third alternative to Nigerians during the elections.
Agunloye tried to defuse the tensions created by the divisions in the party, saying despite the factions, the party still has other elections to focus on other than the presidential election.
“We are looking beyond the presidential election. The emphasis is not all about endorsing one candidate or the other candidate, it is also not about why the SDP is not able to produce a clear presidential candidate.
“We are also working on those who are contesting elections for the Senate, for the House of Representatives and the Houses of Assembly," he said.
Agunloye further clarified that he was part of the executive committee that endorsed President Buhari, following the legal tussles that marred its ambition to field a candidate for Saturday’s election.
He said efforts to resolve the crisis of who would hold the ticket for the party failed to yield results. He added that the issue of endorsements should not be allowed to further deepen the crisis and pull the party down.
“If you are accusing those who endorsed Buhari of anti-party activities, those who endorsed Atiku are also involved in anti-party activities,” Agunloye added.
According to the party’s director of media and publicity, Yemi Akinbode, Gana was expelled from the party for setting up a parallel National Executive Committee (NEC) without the adequate constitutional procedure.
He said Duke is not yet expelled as he is still on suspension. He said Duke never wanted to be president as he never raised a campaign even in his own state.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Social Democratic Party, on Thursday, February 7, adopted the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, as its consensus candidate ahead of February 16 presidential poll.
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