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Appeal Court Upholds Duke As SDP Presidential Candidate, Orders Gana To Pay N500,000 Cost



Court Hands SDP’s Presidential Candidature To Duke

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, declared former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke as the 2019 presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.

The three-man panel of Justices in a unanimous decision overturned an earlier judgement of the Abuja High Court, which had on December 14, 2018, removed Duke as SDP’s candidate for the 2019 Presidential Election and installed Prof. Jerry Gana.

The appellate court also resolved all the issues against Gana and ordered him to pay N500, 000 cost to all the five Appellants in the matter.

Naija News recalls the High Court in its ruling, had maintained that Duke’s emergence contradicted a zoning arrangement by the party adopted to ensure that a President and National Chairman of the party do not emerge from the same Geopolitical Zone.

Based on this, the court voided all the votes won by Duke during the party’s presidential primaries as he is from the same region as the incumbent National Chairman of the party.

It went further to install Prof. Gana who came second at the primary contest, as the party’s candidate being the only candidate from the Northern part of the country with the highest valid votes cast.

However, in its judgement today, the court of appeal submitted that the high court judgment was “perverse and wrong”.

It added that the high court ruling violates Duke’s right to freedom from discrimination.

It said the zoning formula adopted by the party is “a mere political arrangement” that had nothing to do with the qualification of a candidate.

It held that Gana’s complaint was not that there was any violation of the Electoral Act, but that Duke who is from the Southern part, was not qualified to contest the presidential election.

Justice Abdul Aboki who read the lead judgement said “Such a complaint does not disclose a cause of action.”

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