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SDP rejects Atiku as consensus candidate, backs Duke. CUPP accuses SDP of backing out because it lost Vice Presidential slot

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has rejected the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the consensus presidential candidate of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).

According to the SDP, Atiku’s emergence did not measure up to the established standard which was agreed to by the political parties that formed the CUPP.

Consequently, the SDP resolved to support its presidential candidate, Mr. Donald Duke, and his running mate, Shehu Gabam.

 “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 National Publicity Secretary of the SDP, Mr. Alfa Mohammed, said while speaking to journalists in Abuja.

According to him, the PDP truncated the success of the CUPP as a working coalition at the presidential level, while the leadership of the steering committee setup aborted it through disregard for the spirit of inclusiveness, unity and shared vision that propelled the coalition.

“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 MusaGabam, 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.”

A former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke
A former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke

He further revealed that some political parties were ready to collaborate with the SDP in order to dislodge the non-performing ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.

“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.”

The CUPP in its response however described the decision by the SDP as a failed attempt to help the dwindling electoral fortunes of President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the National spokesman of the CUPP, the SDP was a member of the Steering and Selection Committees and was represented by Dr. Olu Agunloye where the final decision to pick the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, was made.

“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.”

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