Senator Ikenga has emerged presidential candidate of SDP.
9Janewshub.com.ng reports that the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Tuesday elected a former Senator representing Anambra Central, Senator Ebenezer Ikeyina as its Presidential Candidate for the 2023 Presidential election.
This development may have put paid to speculation that the party could emerge as the much awaited ‘Third Force’ when a power aspirant such as the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu must have pitched tent with it in the event that he lost the APC ticket.
In his address to delegates from the 36 States of the Federation and FCT in Abuja during the party’s special national convention, the acting SDP national Chairman, Chief Supo Shonibare said he was optimistic that the party’s candidates seeking various elective positions at Federal and States will be victorious at all levels during the 2023 general elections.
According to the chairman of the National Convention Organising Committee, Chief Mike Odunrinde who presided over the election, out of the 311 delegates accredited, 108 voted in favour of Senator Ikeniya, two voted against while only one vote was voided.
He disclosed that after the national convention and the final determination of the Court case, the party will have extra-ordinary convention which is expected to involve members of the factional group. He said the SDP leadership is “particularly mindful of the fate of our candidates.”
According to acting national chairman, some of the aspirants who emerged as candidates at all levels who are not aware of the ongoing internal crisis will be protected from all forms of jeopardy that may happen in the nearest future.
He assured that the party being led by himself in an active capacity until the next convention, is “very confident will be victorious. It may not be as quickly as we wanted but I’m assuring you that we will be victorious.”
“It may not be as quickly as we think but we are confident that we will prevail. And one thing I can assure you is that we will not back-off.
“We will continue to extend olive branch to the other tendencies who we know were never elected and we are particularly mindful of the fate of our Candidates because I tried to tell my colleagues that we must appreciate that candidates that have come as SDP candidates many of them may not know the division within the party.
“Even if they know the division within the party if the inec station in their state tells them that a particular group whom they are dealing with its very difficult for candidates not to go in that direction.
“So we must appreciate the challenges of candidates and we have offered an olive branch which the other tendencies, the other faction if they had meant well for our political party, they would have accepted that olive branch because what we proposed was to co-administer the primaries for candidates but because they were focused on other issues they were prepared to put Candidates in jeopardy because the fact that INEC has told you to go and speak to one side does not guarantee that the court when this matter is determined will make a declaration that wherever you went to is the legitimate leadership of the party.
“There is no guarantee. So there’s jeopardy for those who think they are collecting forms and INEC is telling them the way forward. As I said earlier all of us know that there were a few governors who didn’t even campaign and they are governors today why? Because it was deemed that the processes that they went through or the leadership that they submitted to was the proper leadership of the party.
“So we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that the candidates are not put in any more jeopardy we will continue to do all we can to absorb them. We know that some people who are in the other faction who are not comfortable being in that faction who get in touch with from time to time, we know their challenges and the door is always open.
“After this event we expect to have an extraordinary national convention which by God’s grace will overcome the problems that delegates have had coming here this morning and which will include all the other tendencies of our party provided they all accept the uniform constitution that all of us had fashioned together in 2018.”
He condemned the act of violence by the factional group who attempted to scuttle the National Convention, applauding the FCT Police Commissioner for taking decisive measures to foil “their grand plan.