Professor Jerry Gana’s Presidential Campaign Team says its candidate will appeal the court judgment that recognized former Governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate.
According to Ike Neliaku, the Director-General of the campaign Team at a press conference on Friday in Abuja, he described the judgment as unacceptable and a miscarriage of justice.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja division, in a unanimous decision of the panel, on Thursday recognized Duke at the party’s presidential candidate. The three-man panel of the appellate court in a judgment delivered by Justice Abdul Aboki on the appeal filed by Duke reversed the earlier judgment of an Abuja High Court which upheld Gana as the party’s candidate.
Neliaku, who said that the team’s confidence in God and the avowed integrity of the judiciary remained intact, however, raised some concerns about the judgment. The concern according to him includes the role played by the party’s National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, and what he termed as “obviously unfair and skewed composition of the Appeal Court panel.’’
He said that while the chairman had earlier expressed optimism that the judgment was going to be in favour of Duke, he also alleged that two of the panel Justices came from “the home states of either Duke or his running mate. We were utterly shocked, dumbfounded and dismayed when the appellant lead Counsel thanked the Justices for their adventure into other matters not canvassed by the parties in the Appeal. This absurdity is one of its kind!
Arising from the above and many other lacunas and contradictions in the judgment, we have carefully weighed the views and options presented by our stakeholders and supporters across the world and resolved to accede to what is in the long term interest of our democracy.
It is, therefore, our considered opinion that the judgment of the Court of Appeal is erroneous, contradictory and a miscarriage of justice. The decision is therefore not acceptable to us. Accordingly, our candidate, Gana, has resolved to appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court.
We believe that, apart from setting the records straight and clarifying matters of Constitutional Order, this will strengthen our electoral law, enrich our jurisprudence, as well as deepen and widening our democracy.’’
Neliaku, however, congratulated Duke for his victory at the Appeal Court and also advised him to commence his campaign.