THE Social Democratic Party (SDP) says it is no longer part of the 40 political parties that have adopted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar as their consensus presidential candidate for the 2019 election.
The party had earlier signed a MoU with 39 other political parties under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) with the aim of presenting a consensus candidate for 2019 presidential election noting that the coalition has been hijacked.
SDP in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Alfa, in Abuja, said that the decision was taken at the National Working Committee meeting of the party on Monday in Abuja.
The CUPP had on December 5 announced the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as it consensus candidate for 2019.
Alfa explained in the statement that the alliance was agreed on the premise of mutual understanding that all constituent political parties in the coalition would work together and would be guided by the spirit and letter of the MoU as signed.
According to him, “the leadership of the (CUPP) Steering Committee aborted it through disregard for the spirit of inclusiveness, unity and the shared vision that propelled the rainbow Coalition. “
The SDP noted that the precipitate action of the PDP truncated the success of the CUPP as a working coalition at the Presidential level.
He said that the PDP’s approach toward consensus building had now subjected the move to a major setback due to the following breaches of trust and the provisions of the MoU.
“It is mainly PDP driven. The PDP runs it as if others must shape in or ship out.
“The PDP runs timelines to suffocate other parties or to get to a point where events have already overtaken issues; like deadlines at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have run out.
“The PDP pressed on with its Presidential candidate Abubakar , appointing his running Mate, Director-General of Campaign and all positions and, of course, making the selection of any other platform impossible or impracticable however, impeccable the platform could be.
“The PDP also displays some form of “we can do it alone” type of arrogance.”
Alfa said that in the view of the foregoing, and mindful of the observance of the MoU in the breach, SDP resolved that the emergence of a consensus candidate as reported was unacceptable to it.
He said that the emergence did not follow due process and did not measure up to the established standard set out and which was agreed to by the member political parties of the alliance.
“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.”
Alfa said that the SDP as a principled and self-respecting party had resolved to move on with its campaigns to commence the presentation of its presidential candidate, Donald Duke and his running –mate, Shehu Gabam.
He said that party had also resolved to market its other candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly for the 2019 general elections.
“The campaign flag off which will commence with the zonal flag off will have the South-East Geo-political Zone as the first point of call next week and details will soon be made public. “
Alfa disclosed that some presidential candidates of some parties were already discussing concrete collaboration with SDP.
“The SDP will certainly welcome all those who believe in our philosophy, vision, mission and programmes for the Nigerian people.”
Reacting to the withdrawal of SDP from the coalition, the CUPP National Spokesperson, Mr Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said that pulling out of SDP would not in anyway effect the chances of the coalition consensus candidate, Abubakar.
Ugochinyere, in a statement said that before the belated withdrawal of SDP, it was a member of the Steering and Selection committees of the CUPP, adding that SDP was represented by Olu Agunloye where the decisions including the emergence of Abubakar were taken.
“It is therefore surprising and show of lack of spirit of sportsmanship for SDP to claim to have pulled out of a process that they fully participated and concluded successfully.
“The inability to secure the position of vice presidential candidate in the coalition is not enough reason to pull out of the coalition.”
Ugochinyere said that Section 142 of the 1999 constitution says the President and Vice President must be from the same political party and hence the ambition of SDP was limited by the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
“The coalition is waxing stronger despite the belated action of the SDP as 5 more political parties have joined the coalition.
“We at the coalition are not disturbed as the SDP candidate does not have clout and electoral strength to weaken the growing popularity of the consensus candidate.
“We hereby urge Nigerians to remain steadfast and unflinching in their support for the coalition as the state of the union of the coalition is strong and victory is assured.”