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Appeal court declares Duke SDP presidential candidate

The court of appeal in Abuja has declared Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River, as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Donald Duke

The appellate court set aside the judgement of an Abuja high court which declared Jerry Gana, former information minister, as the party’s presidential flagbearer.

The court also awarded N500,000 cost against Gana.

Duke had approached the court to reverse the decision of the lower court which held that he was not the authentic candidate of the party, having emerged from a process said “to be contrary to the party’s provision for the primary election.”

The three-man panel held that the application is illegal and unconstitutional, which ought not to have been entertained by the lower court.

The court held that the position of Gana in section 18 of the party’s amended constitution contravenes the electoral acts stipulation for the validity of a candidate in any election.

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The court also held that the amendment relied upon by Gana did not take effect until October 8, 2018, two days after its ratification and the election of Duke as the party’s candidate was in line with section 222 of the electoral act.

An high court sitting in Abuja, had on December 14, 2018, declared Gana as the winner of the presidential primary election of the SDP.

Hussein Baba-Yusuf, the judge, had nullified the candidacy of Duke as the party’s flagbearer.

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