An FCT High Court in Maitama has sacked Donald Duke and declared a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, as winner of the presidential primary election of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, conducted on October 6. Duke, a former Governor of Cross River, was declared the winner of the election and its flag bearer for the 2019 election.
According to the party, Duke polled 812 votes while Gana had 611. Gana challenged the result in court and sought to be declared the winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party's constitution.
In his judgement on Friday, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf held that the regulations contained in the party's constitution were binding on every member and must be obeyed. According to the judge, the zoning and rotation formula as contained in the party's constitution stipulated that both the chairman of the party and the flag bearer should not come from the same region.
"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," he held.
He then declared Gana the winner of SDP presidential primary election. He also declared Duke's 812 votes null and void, and ordered SDP to forward Gana's name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party's flag bearer for the 2019 presidential election. In addition, he ordered that Duke should stop parading himself as the party's flag bearer for next year's election.