Gana versus SDP: Abuja court adjourns case to Nov.13

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Monday, adjourned hearing on a suit filed by a Presidential Aspirant of the Social Democratic Party (SDP),Prof. Jerry Gana against the party to November 13, 2018 for substantive application.

Justice H.B Yusuf presiding over the court located at Maitama, Abuja, upheld the prayers of both counsel to the defendant(SDP) and the claimant, who earlier prayed the court for adjournment, to enable the claimant respond to various processes filed by the defendant.

“For those reasons stated, the matter has been adjourned to Nov 13, 2018,” Justice Yusuf said.
Earlier, Lead Counsel to the claimant, Pius Akubo(SAN)in company of two others, Joe Abraham(SAN) and Dr. Joshua Musa(SAN), told the court that the parties had agreed that a short adjournment be granted to allow the Judge recovery properly from a health condition and to enable “us respond to various processes filed by the defendant last Friday.”

“Subject to my Lord’s condition and the sensitive nature of the suit, we pray the court to adjourn the case to Tuesday, November 2018,” he had told the court.
In his submission, counsel to the defendant, Bar. Eyitayo Jegede, confirmed to the court that the date was convenient.

Subsequently, the judge upheld the prayers of both counsel and adjourned the matter to November to 13, 2018.
Professor Jerry Gana had contested presidential primaries on the platform of the Social Democratic Party. On October 2018.
Gana had lost to Donald Duke who polled higher votes but subsequently headed to court to challenge his candidacy on grounds of violation of the SDP zoning principle.

Speaking in an interview with journalist after the sitting, Bar. Akubo noted that his client was in court to ventilate his grievance over the violation of the party’s constitution by the leadership.

He further noted that commendably, the party had come up with a novel provision in its constitution by entrenching the principle of zoning of key political offices including the office of the president and that of the national chairman of the party.
However, he said: “Regrettably, that was violated with impunity in the just concluded primaries.”

“Prof. Jerry is here to give vent to article 15(3) of the party’s constitution that entrenches the principle of zoning and rotation of public offices as agreed to by the party. We firmly believe that the party’s constitution is supreme and is binding on all its members so, we are here in court to ventilate the grievances on the basis of this provision and the case has been adjourned to next week Tuesday, to enable us conclude processes between both parties and go straight to the substantive application for court to determine finally the fate of the parties,” he added.

Also addressing journalists after the sitting, the claimant, Professor. Jerry Gana said he felt disappointed that the party violated its own principles by picking Donald Duke as its presidential candidate for 2019 election.

“We are in court because we feel profoundly disappointed that a party that we have built up to stand for justice, fairness and due process did not obey its constitution and therefore, we felt that since we are laying the foundations of a durable democracy that will respect the rule of law, the party should be made to obey its constitution.

“That constitution, very clearly provide in section 15(3) that the party will respect the principle of rotation and zoning because that is important for this period in building the Federal Republic of Nigeria so that there will be fairness and balance of the forces within the nation because we are building a nation that will be peaceful, orderly such that every part will feel respected,” he said.

Gana, who regretted that, that provision was violated on the 6th of October when the convention was convened at the Old Parade Ground, here in Abuja, further stated that the party’s constitution specify that the position of chairman and president cannot be from the same part of Nigeria, largely South and North.

“In order words, if the Chairman of our party, Chief Olu Falae, according to that provision comes from the southern part of Nigeria, then the presidential candidate, subsequently, the president, must come from the northern state. That position was so very clear that our chairman actually went on air very clearly, very publicly and very confidently and in very clear terms that the presidential candidate of the party will emerge from either North-Central, North-East or North-West, so there was no basis whatsoever on that provision for any other candidate to have been allowed from outside the northern state.

“We feel this is an issue of love, an issue of constitution and since the Social Democratic Party is very determine to bring about due process, good governance, rule of law, it must be made to obey its constitution,” he said.


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