Duke, Gana, Three Others Eye SDP Presidential Ticket

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* Primary holds Oct 6

By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

Five presidential aspirants of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) are to participate in the party’s presidential primary slated for Abuja on October 6.

The aspirants include former governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke; former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana; Mr John Dara; Prof. Hagher Iyouwese and Ambassador Felix Osakwe.

The chairman of the party’s Special Convention Sub-committee on Publicity, Prof. Rufus Alkali, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, said SDP will hold its special convention on Saturday, October 6 at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja.

The hosting of the special convention by the party, he further said, is in accordance with the 2019 general election timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the approved schedule of activities of the SDP.

According to him, the party’s five presidential aspirants will have their fate decided by 4,500 delegates who will converge on Abuja to elect the party’s standard-bearer.

He said: “I am pleased to inform you that so far a total of five distinguished Nigerians of impeccable character have signified their interest and purchased nomination forms for presidential elections. This party wishes to promise Nigerians that the forthcoming national convention will be conducted under an open, free and transparent atmosphere to ensure that the outcome of all the elections are credible, fair and just.”

The SDP, he further said, will be expecting about 4,500 delegates at the scheduled national convection to elect the presidential candidate of the party ahead of the February 16, 2019 presidential election.

According to him, the party will also use the special convention to ratify some changes that has been made with the coming on board of the new National Working Committee (NEC).

“This National Convention is also special because it is at the convention that three major decisions will be taken namely: the ratification of the amended constitution of the party; election of and ratification of the election of new National Executive Committee members; and the selection of the presidential candidate of the party in preparations for the general election in February next year,” he said.

According to him, “The SDP has raised the bar and has set new and higher standard which other political parties in the country will find difficult to surpass in terms of the transparency and integrity of our internal democratic processes as demonstrated during our last congresses and primaries that were conducted in the run up to the forthcoming National Convention.”

He also called on INEC and the security agencies to ensure that the 2019 general election is free, fair and credible.

“At this juncture, let me call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies to step up their efforts in ensuring the forthcoming general election in 2019 is conducted transparently in an atmosphere of peace and orderliness so the outcome of the general election will be acceptable and indeed accepted by all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria both at home and abroad,” he said.