The National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Olu Falae, has appealed to all members of the party not to attend any of the events being scheduled by Prof. Jerry Gana and his Presidential Campaign Committee.
Falae, in a statement he issued in Abuja, said that doing so might amount to contempt of the court.
The chairman said that he had received a letter dated December 27 from Gana, seeking his (Falae’s) leave as SDP national chairman to “unveil the vision and programme” of his presidential campaign.
He said that Gana, in the letter, had also invited him as “chief host” at both the “unveiling” programme scheduled for Saturday December 29, and at the “Summit of stakeholders planned for Saturday, January 5, 2019.
He recalled that earlier correspondence from Gana made it clear that he based the proposals on the judgment of the FCT High Court dated December 14, 2018.
Falae said that the counsel of all the five defendants in the case (including SDP), Wole Olanipekun & Co., had already appealed to the Court of Appeal against that judgement.
“We have also, through our counsel, filed a motion at the Court of Appeal, praying for certain reliefs, including a stay of execution of the judgment of the High Court and injunctive reliefs against Prof. Jerry Gana, pending the determination of the appeal.
“All the relevant processes have been served on Prof. Jerry Gana’s counsel. In the light of the foregoing, we cannot and should not attend any of the events being scheduled by Prof. Jerry Gana and his campaign committee, as it will amount to a breach of the court process and may amount to contempt of court.
“I appeal to all party officials at all levels, leaders and members, to stay calm and refrain from participating in actions designed to pre-empt the courts. We must remain loyal to the party, which is more important than any of us. We are all one party and we are all united.”
The party had earlier declared former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, as its flag bearer for the 2019 General Elections.
The party declared Duke as winner of its primary election, having polled 812 votes, while Gana got 611.
Gana, however, went to court seeking that it should declare him the winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution.
The Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja on Friday December 14, declared Gana as the rightful candidate of SDP in the 2019 election.
In his judgement, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf held that the regulations contained in the party’s constitution were binding on every member and must be obeyed.
The judge held that the zoning and rotation formula, as contained in the party’s constitution, stipulated that both the chairman of the party and the flag bearer should not come from the same zone.
It would be recalled that Gana, on December 19, paid courtesy visit to the party headquarters, calling on the SDP leadership to complete his nomination process with the Independent National Electoral Commission in line with the recent court order.
He also sought the party leaders’ approval of his campaign policy to enable him to begin his campaign.