By Jonathan Ugbal
Former Cross River Governor, Mr. Donald Duke on Sunday morning, emerged the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for the 2019 general elections after polling 812 votes from a possible 1,562 to beat five other contestants at the party’s national convention held at the Old Parade ground in Abuja.
NAN reports that former information minister, Professor Jerry Gana emerged second after garnering 612 votes.
Announcing the results, the returning officer, Dr. Abdul Isiaq said Mr. John Dara a former special assistant to a former minister of defense, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma came third having scored 104 votes.
Also, a former Ambassador and minister, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher from Benue State polled 72 votes; Delta born former Ambassador and clergyman, Mr. Felix Osakwe scored 10 votes, with the number of invalid votes was 63.
Isiaq, who is the party’s National Deputy Chairman (North) who had read the election guidelines before voting commenced, said out of 1,729 delegates from across the country, 1,726 were accredited while 3 were voided. However, only 1,562 voted.
Duke, in his acceptance speech averred that he stands for good governance and opined that if Nigerians were productive and abide by rules and regulations, the nation would grow stronger.
Describing his victory as a collective one for all aspirants, he sued for the cooperation of party faithful and the citizenry to win the 2019 general election.
“We will reawaken in Nigerians that yearning that we are destined to be, but we cannot do this alone,” Duke said and argued Nigeria was not divided as postulated by some, but a country of common purpose.
“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,” Duke said.
Voting had begun at about 6:30 PM on Saturday with the party’s national chairman, Olu Falae in his address lamented that Nigerians have been inundated with the monetisation of politics, failed leadership and the relegation of the masses welfare which led to, “social and food insecurity, lawlessness, impunity, insurgency, widespread corruption, nepotism and poverty.”
Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and finance minister added that: “Nigerians (have) watched helplessly how ethnic and religious divisions reached a magnitude that threatens the very foundation of our nationhood.
“But, it is now time to halt such a dangerous march towards national collapse. We must return to politics where welfare of the people is central theme of social democracy.
“We must return to the stage where emphasis is on party manifesto, integrity, performance and service to the nation. We must halt the disgraceful spread of political monetisation in our country.”
Meanwhile, Vanguard reports that the primary election was witnessed by some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission led by the commissioner representing the South East geopolitical zone, Barrister Festors Okoye.
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