A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, has declared former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
The court said he won the presidential primary of the party as against the position of the party that former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, is the winner.
The primary was held on October 6, 2018.
The court declared Gana the winner of the primary based on the zoning and rotation formula as enshrined in the party’s constitution.
According to Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, the party had acted in violation of the constitution which stated that the presidential candidate and the chairman of the party could not come from the same zone.
Chief Olu Falae and Duke are from the South of the country.
Declared the judge: “In this instance, the party’s Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, is from the South and Duke is from the South too; the law is clear; there is nothing to write in-between.
“The law has crystallised that political parties should abide by the regulations which they have made by themselves.
“The claimant laid sufficient evidence to have the judgment in his favour; it is a clear violation of the party’s constitution; the court cannot wave right over illegality.”
The judge said Gana, having been declared the winner of the primary by the court, has made the 812 votes by Duke against Gana’s 611 a nullity.
He said Gana’s name should replace that of Duke at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the presidential candidate of the SDP.
In his suit, Gana had sought the leave of the court to nullify the declaration of Duke as SDP’s presidential candidate.
His argument was that under Article 15(3) of the SDP Constitution, the office of the national chairman of the party and the presidential candidacy shall rotate between the northern and southern parts of the country.