2023: SDP faction picks ex-Senator as presidential candidate – Premium Times

SDP factional chairman, Supo Shonibare (in white attire and red cap) at the centre with other leaders of the party at the convention and presidential primaries.
Former Anambra Central Senator, Ebenezer Ikeyina, has been declared the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) despite the crisis rocking the party.
Mr Ikeyina emerged at the party’s presidential primary held on Tuesday in Abuja and attended by 311 delegates from all the states of the federation.
At least 308 votes were cast in favour of the former Third Republic senator while two were against him. A vote was declared void.
The factional acting chairman, Supo Shonibare, in his address to the delegates, acknowledged the ongoing internal crisis but promised to protect the interests of elected candidates at all levels ahead of the 2023 General Election.
“We will continue to extend an 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 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 it is 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,” Mr Shonibare said at the event.
His comment came two weeks after calling out two of the party’s former chairmen, Olu Agunloye and Shehu Gabam, for allegedly posing as the leaders of the party.
In a separate reaction, a former National Chairman of the SDP, Olu Falae, dismissed the two sets of executives claiming to be the last authentic elected national chairman of the party.
The convention and presidential primaries conducted by Mr Shonibare’s faction were dismissed as fake by Messrs Agunloye and Gabam when PREMIUM TIMES contacted them on Tuesday night.
A schedule of activities for the national and state elections signed by Mr Agunloye in his capacity as the national secretary, fixed June 2 for the SDP national convention and presidential primaries.
Adewole Adebayo, Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi and Cessnabimilo Akenova were named as the factions’ presidential aspirants.
Calls and messages by this newspaper to the INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, to confirm which of the conventions and presidential primaries organised by the two factions the commission would supervise, were not responded to.
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