Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River state

Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and a former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, has disassociated himself from the reported endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, who is seeking reelection by a faction of his party ahead of next Saturday’s presidential election.

In a statement released after the national executive of the SDP announced its decision to support Buhari , the former governor of Cross River State said he remains the SDP’s presidential candidate and will participate in the presidential election.

The full text of the statement reads: “The Social Democratic Party and the state of play

“This afternoon, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Social Democrats Party (SDP) came up with a decision to endorse the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari for the February 16th Presidential election. This decision has arisen according to the party, as a result of protracted legal squabbles within the party which has made the party unable to commence a decent campaign.

“Regardless and for the avoidance of doubt, I Donald Duke, remain on the ballot and the candidate of the SDP as recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“This unfortunate saga, is as a result of an aspirant who lost at the party primaries on the 6th of October fair and square, does not query the conduct of the primaries but rather resorts to bigotry, querying my suitability to contest for the presidency on grounds that I come from “the wrong part of the country”. The Federal Court of Appeal has put this matter to rest. The office of President and any constitutional office for that matter, does not belong to any party and therefore not for a party to zone. What is more worrisome for our nascent party is its inability to rein in its members, particularly sore losers. Internal management of party affairs has been the bane of our democracy.

“My decision to run on an untainted political platform rather than on one which I was a founding member, is grounded on a desire to afford our electorate and indeed our nation a clean break, options and alternatives to her current gladiators. For the SDP NEC to thereby endorse the APC or any other party, is rather unfortunate and betrays in my opinion, the desire of the vast majority of our party members and Nigerians credible alternatives to our nation’s leadership. I need not say more, suffice that I remain on the ballot and thereby still present myself as a candidate for the office of President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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