The Social Democratic Party (SDP) youth have given the leadership of the party 24 hours to send the name of Jerry Gana to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s presidential candidate.
The national youth leader, Nwanka Stanley, made this known at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
This is coming a day after the Director-General of the Jerry Gana campaign organisation, Ike Neliaku, accused the party of conspiracy against the candidature of Mr Gana.
Mr Gana, a former Minister of Information, is in dispute with a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, for the presidential ticket of the party. Mr Duke won the primary but a court ruled that he should not have contested, citing the stipulation of a zoning arrangement in the constitution of the party.
The Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja December 14 declared Mr Gana as the rightful candidate.
The national chairman of the party, Olu Falae, despite the acceptance of Mr Gana by party members and some party officials, has, however, refused to officially recognise Mr Gana pending the determination of an appeal against the judgment.
Noting SDP prides itself as a civil and democratic party, Mr Falae said it would not flout court orders.
But the youth wing of the party said it is not impressed with Mr Falae’s position.
“The National Chairman should as a matter of urgency submit the name of Prof. Jerry Gana to INEC, pending an alternative judgment by a higher court,” Mr Stanley said at the press conference.
“This we expect to be done within the next 24 hours, considering the fact that this has lingered since December.
“As youth leaders in the party, we have quietly observed the turnout of events, particularly as it concerns the presidential candidacy of our party, and general.”
He said the ultimatum was necessary because as youth, it is their duty to rise to the occasion and protect the house they have long labored for.
“It has become necessary that we would rise to rescue our party from the edge of the precipice, where it now stands or keep quiet and watch it fade away ingloriously,” the youth leader said.
Other demands of the youth are that the party’s National Secretary, Shehu Gabam, who was the running mate of Mr Duke, should within the next 24 hours, vacate his office as the scribe of the party.
In line with Article 24; Section 3, Subsection i and ii of the party’s constitution which states that: ‘Any party official, who wishes to contest election into public office, shall notify the Party in writing of his intention and be granted leave of absence by the Party.
“This leave is supposed to commence not later than thirty (30) days before the Party Primary for the said election but in this case, Gabam replaced Mohammed Junaid who stepped down.”
The youth also demanded that the Delta State chairman of the party step down.
“The Delta State Chairman, who parades himself as the Chairman of Chairmen, with his cohort Dogara, having lost the followership of his co-chairmen and should henceforth desist from fomenting further troubles for the party. They should go and man their various states and ensure they deliver the Party in the fought coming general elections,” he said.
The youth leader said SDP remains the credible alternative for Nigerians and should be seen doing the right thing.
He called on the members to rise up and join hands with the youth to rescue the party.
Asked if the youth had made efforts to resolve this within the party before this and what would happen when the ultimatum expires, Mr Stanley said several letters had been written to the party.
He said if nothing was done before the ultimatum expires they would take an “alternative” which he refused to disclose.
After the briefing, the youth leaders marched to the national secretariat of the party to protest.