By Bukola Kayode
Acting National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Supo Shonibare, has raised an alarm on moves by certain stalwarts of the SDP to hijack the party and jeopardise chances of its candidates in the next election.
Speaking at a press conference held in Abuja on Thursday, Shonibare, traced the crisis rocking the SDP to the activities of those who joined the party in 2018.
According to him, the new members including, former minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, former minister of Education , Prof. Tunde Adeniran and former minister of State (Defence) Dr. Olu Agunloye attempted to remove the national executive of the party elected in 2016 at a national convention. He explained that the attempted removal led to a court case instituted in December 2019 at the Federal High Court Abuja.
Shonibare alleged that attempts by his faction of the party to present a united front in order for the party to present its candidates for the 2023 election was rebuffed by those opposed to his leadership.
He also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of bias and meddlesomeness.
He said: “As the founding Leaders of the Party before the 2018 influx of the newcomers (who displayed open sympathies for the ruling administration), we were mindful of our Party’s underlying objective, namely to establish it as a popular party for good governance.
“ That awareness meant that we had the insight to seek to separate the contentious issue of the legitimate leadership of the Social Democratic Party and of its registered Constitution, from the issue of the candidates of the Party that is because we hold the view that candidates ought not to be put in jeopardy as a consequence of parallel processes.
“But the interlopers have shunned all entreaties to protect the interests of the party’s candidates. This is due to the fact that they have been buoyed by the open partisanship of certain officers of INEC, particularly Mr Aminu Idris of its National Directorate for Elections and Party Monitoring.
“It should be noted that this meddlesomeness of INEC is in total disregard of an order of the Federal High Court and of course its own undertaking to the Court to remain neutral between the parties. We will continue to do our best and do all that is needful to ensure that no SDP candidate is put into jeopardy”.
Shonibare while announcing plans by the SDP to conduct its ward and state congresses as well as its national convention also assured SDP aspirants that the party is doing all it can to resolve its leadership crisis.
“Candidates need to be aware, as INEC itself knows full well, that there is a pending action to determine both the legitimate national and state leadership and the primacy of the constitution of the party” he stated.