SDP says no to Atiku for president, backs Duke
The Social Democratic Party has rejected the choice of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, as the consensus presidential candidate of the Coalition of United Political Parties.
It said Atiku’s emergence did not measure up to the established standard which was assented to by the political parties that formed the alliance.
The National Publicity Secretary of the SDP, Mr Alfa Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday at the end of the party’s expanded caucus meeting.
But the CUPP has described the SDP’s decision to pull out of the coalition as “a failed attempt to help the dwindling electoral fortunes of President Buhari.”
Mohammed said the SDP had resolved to stick to its presidential candidate, Donald Duke, and his running mate, Shehu Gabam.
He said the SDP believed that the process that led to Atiku’s emergence was circumvented to achieve a predetermined end.
He said, “The SDP resolved that the emergence of a consensus candidate as reported is unacceptable to it because it did not follow due process and did not measure up to the established standard set out and which was assented to by the member political parties of the alliance.
“The MoU clearly provides for agreement of all the political parties before any public endorsement. As it turned out eventually, it is obvious that the process was circumvented to achieve a predetermined end.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the SDP will never collapse into any party as it is the choice of Nigerians in the 2019 elections.
“The SDP has, as a principled and self-respecting party with a clear vision and sense of mission, resolved to move on with its campaigns to commence the presentation of its presidential candidate, Donald Duke, and his running mate, Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam, to Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country as well as its other candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly for the 2019 general elections. “
Mohammed said the party would commence its campaign from the South-East.
He, however, said details of the rally would be made public later.
He alleged that the PDP truncated the success of the CUPP as a working coalition at the presidential level while the leadership of the steering committee set up aborted it through disregard for the spirit of inclusiveness, unity and the shared vision that propelled the coalition.
He said the SDP, in the beginning, contributed significantly to the engendering of the concept, believing that the country needed and still needs concerned parties to go into the 2019 election with a united front.
This, he said, was needed to be able to dislodge what he described as the non-performing ruling party and enthrone a competent and patriotic leadership that would unite the country and restore the greatness of the nation.
He disclosed that some political parties were already discussing with the SDP in other for them to collaborate.
He added, “The SDP will certainly welcome all those who believe in our philosophy, vision, mission and programmes for the Nigerian people.
“Based on the popularity and acceptability of the SDP and its candidates, the party has indeed become the generally accepted credible alternative for Nigerians and we are determined to rescue our country from widespread disillusionment and grief, restructure and restore its lost glory.”
But CUPP’s first national spokesperson, Imo Ugochinyere, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, explained that before its withdrawal, the SDP was a member of the Steering and Selection Committees and was represented by Dr Olu Agunloye where the final decision was taken.
He said the party also fully participated in all the selection processes.
He said, “It is on record that SDP was in the coalition when the CUPP template was drafted. It is therefore surprising for SDP to pull out of the coalition at this point.
“Let it also be known that the SDP’s anger over the loss of the vice-presidential slot of the coalition is not attainable. This is because Section 142 of the 1999 constitution says the President and Vice-President must be from the same political party.”