The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has demanded immediate submission of the name of Prof. Jerry Gana to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s presidential candidate.
The demand came through the SDP National Youth Leader, Mr Stanley Nwanka, at a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
Nwanka specifically gave the party’s National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, a 24-hour ultimatum to forward Gana’s name to INEC in line with a Federal High Court judgement on the matter.
He said the youth would “rise to rescue our party from the edge of the precipice’’ if the demand is not met before the expiration of the deadline.
According to him, the move is critical considering the fact that the Presidential election is just 25 days away.
He, however, declined to reveal exactly what action they plan take, saying “you don’t bring all your arsenals of war before the public’’.
The SDP presidential candidacy in the general election is currently a subject of legal battle between Gana and former governor of Cross Rivers, Mr Donald Duke.
Although, Duke was declared winner of the party’s presidential primary held on Oct. 7, 2018, a Federal High Court in Abuja nullified the victory in a judgement delivered on Dec. 14.
The court, presided over by Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, declared Gana as the right candidate and directed the SDP to forward his name to INEC.
But when the commission published the full list of cleared presidential and vice presidential candidates on Jan. 17, the SDP column was conspicuously blank.
Giving reason for the exclusion, INEC, through its National Commissioner on Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, said the commission’s decision was in line with the court judgment.
Okoye said at the time the list was published, SDP had not forwarded the name of Gana to the commission as directed by the court.
Although, the case is currently before the Court of Appeal, the SDP youth leader maintained that the subsisting High Court judgement must be respected until upturned by a higher court.
He said the youth were not aware of any court order restraining the party from submitting Gana’s name to INEC pending the determination of the appeal.
Nwanka also gave Alhaji Shehu Gabam, running mate to Duke, 24 hours to vacate his office as the National Secretary of the SDP in line with the party’s constitution.
He said that the SDP remained the credible alternative to Nigerians and must be seen to do the right thing.
According to him, the party prides itself as the winner of the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the country’s political history.
“The youth are sad that our party has been in the news lately not as a powerful force unveiling its packages to Nigerians as expected but as a house divided against itself.
“We call on every well-meaning party man and woman as well as key stakeholders to join us, the youth to, rescue our party from the edge of precipice.
“We also wish to call on Nigerians to remain hopeful as we are still committed to bringing to them their long overdue yearning for the dividends of democracy through good governance and social justice,’’ Nwanka said.