Okwe Obi, Abuja
A former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, has emerged as the Presidential flagbearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) ahead of the 2019 elections.
Duke scored 812 votes defeating his closest rival and a former Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Jerry Gana, who pooled 611 votes.
While John Dara, Prof. Hagher Iyorwuese and Osakwe polled 104, 72 and 10, respectively. While the total invalid votes were 63. 1,726 delegates were accredited.
Duke was declared winner by the party’s National Vice Chairman who doubled as the returning officer, Ishaq Abdul, early on Sunday morning, in Abuja.
In his acceptance speech, Duke promised to transform the country for the better, insisting that the country was yet to be where it ought to be.
His words: “I want to thank the Almighty God for making this come through. I thank my fellow contestants. This is the first and it is going to an arduous journey.
“We are far cry from where and what we want to be. We will make a different. We will campaign with selling our ideologies and decency to all Nigerians.
“We cannot do this alone. Nigerians deserve something better than what we have.
“What divides our nation is inadequacy and wants. We are guided by rules and regulations. We will be where we ought to be. Our national chairman is indeed a model.”
Addressing party faithful earlier, SDP chairman, Chief Olu Falae, accused the Federal Government of failing to guarantee the security of lives and property.
In the words of Chief Falae, “Today, we have a government that is unable to guarantee security of lives and properties; unable to keep the youths and women gainfully employed; unable to provide welfare or means of livelihood for citizens, unable to provide basic or strategic infrastructure for its people; unable to manage the economy for sustainable development and unable to contain the pervasive crippling corruption at all levels fuelled by growing poverty and unemployment.
“Today, fellow citizens, we have a government that has been unable to stop massive injection money into the electoral process.
“Today, unabating violence and killings have led Nigeria to the edge of the precipice and our nation is divided and polarised to a degree we have never seen before,” he added.