Former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has won the presidential primary election of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Duke who governed Cross River between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 812 votes to get the ticket.
The former governor who defected from the PDP to pursue his presidential ambition recently , defeated his close rival, former Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, who polled 611 votes at the party’s National Convention held at Old Parade Ground, Abuja.
While officially declaring Duke the winner of the exercise, the Chief Returning Officer, Abdul Isiaq said ,said John Dara, former Special Assistant to Gen.T.Y. Danjuma, former defence minister, scored 104 votes.
Announcing result at the early hour of Sunday, Isiaq declared that former ambassador and former minister, Iyorwuese Hagher, polled 72 votes ,while a former ambassador, Felix Osakwe scored 10 votes.
The Chief Returning Officer, also announced 63 votes as invalid votes .
In his acceptance speech, Donald Duke who thanked the delegates for choosing him as the presidential candidate of the party, also described his emergence as a collective victory for all aspirants that participated in the contest.
The SDP presidential candidate noted that the primary was just a step in the contest, assuring the members of the party of a robust campaign across the country which will equally sell the party and it’s polices to citizens.
He ,however, called for the support of all aspirants, the party officials and Nigerians to win 2019 general election, saying “we will reawaken in Nigerians that yearning that we are destined to be, but we cannot do this alone.”
He said that Nigeria was not a divided nation but a country of common purpose.
His words “What divides us is inadequacy and wants, because in the face of this survival of the fittest comes in, which ought not to be so because there is more than enough for everyone.
“If Nigerians were productive and abide by rules and regulations , the nation would grow from strength to strength.This is what good governance is all about and that is what I stand for.”
However, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Olu Falae, said the party represents a renewed hope and a refined and genuine symbol of progress for the country.
Falae who addressed the party delegates earlier ,averred that SDP is the Party of the moment and the pillar that will rescue Nigeria and restore peace, ensure justice, assure progress and development.
According to Falae, the state of the nation and the plight of our fellow
countrymen and women are abysmally poor and it has never been this bad in this country.
He said “Today, we have a Government that is unable to guarantee the security of lives and properties; unable to keep the youths and women gainfully employed; unable to provide welfare or means of livelihood for citizens, unable to provide basic or strategic infrastructure for its
people; unable to manage the economy for sustainable development and unable to contain the pervasive crippling corruption at all levels fuelled by growing poverty and unemployment.
“Today, fellow citizens, we have a Government that has been unable to stop massive injection money into the electoral process.
“Today, unabating violence and killings have led Nigeria to the edge of the precipice and our nation is divided and polarised to a degree we have never seen before.
“Nigerians have helplessly watched as those they elected into offices demonstrate on a daily basis ineffective and incompetent leadership that engenders social and food insecurity, lawlessness, impunity, insurgency, widespread corruption, nepotism and poverty.”
Falae who urged Nigerians to return to politics where the welfare of the people is the central theme of social democracy, maintained that “We must return to the stage where emphasis is on party manifesto, integrity, performance and service to the nation.”
His words, “We must halt the disgraceful spread of political monetization in our country. The so-called major parties which have ruled Nigeria for nearly twenty years have been tried and but have failed.
“Now Nigeria needs to be rescued. Our party, the Social Democratic Party, SDP is prepared and ready for the rescue mission.
“As a political party, we are determined to work with the Nigerian people to ensure the emergence of a new, credible and stable political process, engineered to harvest the beauty of democracy, offer good governance, and produce genuine development.
“SDP is built on the solid ideology of Social Democracy; anchored on social justice, human dignity, fairness, equity, and inclusiveness.
“Our party’s ideology includes a shared prosperity with the imperative of democracy; and the security of peace with justice.
“The philosophy of Social Democracy places a great premium on the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life. ”
Also, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, the Chairman, National Convention Central Planning Committee, said the reality confronting the people today was that they made a wrong choice in 2015 and the hope they placed in the APC and the President was a total misplaced.
Adeniran noted that at no time in the almost two decades of this democratic dispensation has the issue of threats to our national stability and indeed the Nigerian union, generated such concern and widespread anxiety among the people.
According to him, ” It is important for us to note that the present precarious state of the nation has some correlation with what it was some three decades and three years ago.
” The siege was laid on our democracy in the past few weeks by the agents of the state could as well be rightly said to be reminiscent of that unpopular totalitarian era as a military ruler.
” The SDP, as people – driven and the legacy-conscious party is committed to building and bequeathing a great Nigeria nation to succeeding generation .”