The Prof Jerry Gana Campaign organisation has expressed shock at what he called the National Chairman’s sudden shifting of position” in the party’s promise to obey the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
A statement on Friday by the Director General of the Campaign Organisation, Ike Neliaku, said they were worried that Chief Falae, “our National Chairman would prefer an Appeal process, yet to commence and determined, in total disregard to a subsisting valid judgment and order by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Falae had in an earlier press statement urged SDP members and supporters to desist from attending the unveiling of Gana’s campaign pending the determination of the pending Appeal.
The Gana Campaign Organisation noted that it has “consulted with other leaders of the party who represent about 90% of both the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee of the Party, and arrived at the conclusion that the views of the National Chairman are not in tandem with the majority.”
The Director General of G19, representing the campaign organisation however said it would rather stand with the rule of aw, which is a cardinal element of our campaign thrust and our great Party, the SDP.
The statement in full read: “Arising from the numerous enquiries and calls from esteemed party supporters and concerned members of the public from within and outside Nigeria, we are constrained to respond to the Press statement reportedly issued by the National Chairman of SDP.
“We have waited for any denial of the authorship of the said statement, especially in the light of earlier directive of the National Chairman that only Prof Tunde Adeniran is authorised to issue further statements on the matter under reference.
“Following an FCT High Court Judgment of 14th December 2018 in favour of Prof. Jerry Gana as the 2019 Presidential Candidate of the SDP, and in the spirit of our avowed commitment to Party Constitution, Prof. Gana wrote the National Chairman on December 17th to inform him of the judgment and sought audience on December 19th to brief the National Working Committee (NWC) on the agenda and roadmap of his campaign thrust.
“The National Chairman through the Deputy National Chairman South, Prof. Tunde Adeniran responded on December 18, conveying his inability to be in Abuja as requested.
“On December 19, Prof Gana personally submitted his nomination form to the Party which was received by the Deputy National Chairman (North) Dr Abdul Ishaq and other members of the NWC on behalf of the Party; for onward transmission to INEC in line with the court Judgment and Order. Dr Ishaq announced at the public occasion that the Party will obey the court order.
“To our surprise, we understand that the National Chairman at the last minute instructed the Party not to proceed with the form to INEC, which is a flagrant disobedience to the court judgment.
“After waiting for about 10 days without any information from the National Chairman on moving forward, and being under tremendous pressure to commence campaigns in the light of limited available time, Prof Gana wrote a second letter dated December 27 notifying the National Chairman of his intention to unveil his campaign vision to the Media on December 29 2018 and meet with Stakeholders on January 5, 2019.
“While expecting the National Chairman’s response to the letter, our attention was this afternoon drawn to a Press Statement reportedly issued by the National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae on the subject matter of our letter, even to the extent of threatening Party members not to attend the events.
“To say the least, we are shocked at the National Chairman’s sudden shift of position, after making commitment to both our Candidate and other legitimate stakeholders, that as Social Democrats he and by extension, the Party, are obliged to obey the court judgment and orders; and would expectedly work with the position of the court.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the reliefs granted in consequence of our case by the FCT High Court are all DECLARATORY, which could ONLY be vitiated by a contrary judgment of an appeal court.
“It speaks volumes that our National Chairman would prefer an Appeal process, yet to commence and determined, in total disregard to a subsisting valid judgment and order by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“We have consulted with other leaders of the Party who represent about 90% of both the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee of the Party, and arrived at the conclusion that the views of the National Chairman are not in tandem with the majority.
“For record purposes and ensuring that Party members are well informed of the facts, may it be known that up till the last time I checked before issuing this statement, Prof. Jerry Gana has not been served of any Court of Appeal process, and as such have not engaged any counsel to prosecute any imaginary appeal on his behalf. How does one engage a Counsel for an appeal matter that is not before him or is a counsel forced on him without an option of choice?
“Furthermore, we observe from the said Press Statement that the National Chairman, who ought to be an unbiased father to all Party members, has descended into the arena and become highly sectional in determining to ignore a subsisting court order for an imaginary appeal process yet to be started.
“It is sad that our National Chairman who is to teach us as Social Democrats to respect the rule of law is now leading the way towards deliberately breaking the Law, tendentiously for a contempt of court.
“With utmost respect, I wish to state unequivocally as the Director General of G19, that we will rather stand with the Rule of Law, which is a cardinal element of our campaign thrust and our great Party, the SDP.
“Accordingly, the Gana Presidential Campaign train is set to leave the station tomorrow December 29, and will run SWIFTLY to redeem the time and arrive its destination successfully and unhindered. Therefore, all the media organizations and guests invited to the Media Presentation are joyfully expected to be at Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel and Towers Abuja by 11.30am.
“By the Grace of God, we are prepared to win our election and help other serious candidates of the Party to win their elections as well. We did not seek the party tickets to become merchants, traders and transationalists, we are too serious a community of people to engage in such. By the grace of God, we are running the race to win and determined to secure resounding victories for the Party.
“Finally, considering the unmitigated embarrassment and sliding fortunes of the Party in the last three months, I wonder if it is not time for the majority Party faithfuls who love the Party to arise and rescue her from the tyranny of the minority who have received a mandate from outside of the Party hierarchy to muscle and cage the elegant stallion.
“We wish our numerous supporters and Partners, as well as genuine and patriotic party men and women, compliments of this season and prosperous 2019.
“May we all embrace the SWIFT re-engineering of our nation towards Reworking Nigeria Together.
“Morning will yet come on creation day,” the statement said.