In defiance of the appeal of its national chairman, top officials of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) attended the unveiling of Jerry Gana’s presidential campaign.
The national publicity secretary and national treasurer of the party, Alfa Mohammaed and Emeka Atuma, were both present at the unveiling of Mr Gana’s presidential programme.
The national chairman of SDP, Olu Falae, had appealed to all members of the party not to attend any of the events scheduled by Jerry Gana and his Presidential Campaign Committee, as doing so may amount to contempt of court.
Following SDP’s presidential primaries, which held on October 7, the party had declared former governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, as its flag bearer for the 2019 general elections, having polled 812 votes, closely followed by Mr Gana, who polled 611 votes.
Mr Gana, who was dissatisfied, went to court seeking to be declared winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution.
The Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja, on December 14 declared Mr Gana as the rightful candidate of SDP in the 2019 election.
The national chairman, in his appeal, said they have filed a motion at the Court of Appeal, through their counsel, praying for certain relief, including stay of execution of the judgment of the High Court and injunctive relief against Jerry Gana, pending the determination of the Appeal.
“In the light of the foregoing, we cannot and should not attend any of the events being scheduled by Prof. Jerry Gana and his Campaign Committee as it will amount to a breach of the court process and may amount to contempt of Court.
“I appeal to all Party officials at all levels, leaders and members to stay calm and refrain from participating in actions designed to pre-empt the courts. We must remain loyal to the Party, which is more important than any of us,” he said.
Mr Falae also said all relevant processes have been served on Jerry Gana’s counsel, but the director general of Jerry Gana’s campaign organisation, Ike Naliak, at the event, denied this, stating that his boss, Mr Gana, is yet to be served anything.
Mr Gana speaking at the event, said his programme, codenamed SWIFT, highlights Security regeneration (S), Wealth creation (W), Infrastructure excellence and power supply (I), Fight against corruption and discipline (F) and Technology, education and human development (T).
Mr Alfa, when asked if his presence was not a violation of the chairman’s order, said his presence and that of others does not pose any form of anti-party activities.
He also said the chairman was trying to stay neutral and with the majority, but he believes his presence is proof they have the support of majority in the party.
Mr Gana, when asked when and where his campaign will commence and who was his running mate, said that will be addressed in another meeting in January and his running mate will be revealed at the flag off of his campaign.