The Social Democratic Party (SDP) said it will welcome Bola Tinubu and other politicians who may want to join the party before the general elections in 2023.
The Acting National Chairman of SDP, Chief Supo Shonibare, stated this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
Shonibare, however, noted that there will be no automatic ticket for any politician.
He said politicians who felt cheated in other political parties could come and join the SDP to pursue their political ambitions in 2023, but they must be ready to submit themselves to stringent conditions, including an integrity test.
He also clarified that the APC chieftain was not a registered member of the SDP.
“On the issue of Asiwaju Tinubu, the last time I checked, he is not a member of the SDP.
“I checked on the list because the membership list of our party as INEC has required, has already been submitted by our state chapters to us in Abuja.
“His name is not among those who are members of our party in Lagos State. That’s all I can say, he’s not a member of SDP.
“Yes, we will welcome anyone who feels cheated by other political parties but must be consistent with integrity.
“If he (Tinubu) comes, it won’t be automatic, what we would emphasize is consistency with integrity within the public officer.
“Also anyone who is controversial, rated low or with baggage, who doesn’t have integrity will not be allowed. SDP leadership does not want the party to be an opportunistic vehicle,” he said.
Shonibare maintained that the party would only give consideration to individuals cheated by his party but not to anyone in controversial circumstances.
“In instances where we’ve seen great injustices to an individual, who we feel is not coming to us with baggage, yes that individual will be welcome to SDP.
“But we won’t welcome anyone who we feel has a pending court case. We won’t welcome anyone that has been convicted, even if the person is actually now appealing that conviction.
“So we will try to ensure that those who we will welcome into our party, are men and women of integrity, making SDP be a succour for those who have been wrongly dealt with in their political parties.
“Provided those who are coming themselves have displayed integrity and honour in the way and manner they themselves have conducted themselves in government,” he said.
During the party’s leadership crisis, Shonibare maintained that INEC lacked the powers to determine who the authentic leadership of SDP is.
“INEC is not the court of law, so it cannot determine which fact is the rightful leader of the party.
“It is the constitution of the party, the rules of the party, and the determination of the court that will determine who is the legitimate leadership of the party. It is that process that INEC will oblige to accept,” he said.
Shonibare said, while INEC was set up to observe and issue guidelines for the conduct of elections, it was not its responsibility to determine a faction to be recognized when there were parallel or faction congresses.
He reiterated the resolve of the Party’s leadership towards ensuring that sanity was restored, adding that there was the need for the party exercise caution.
He said that the party would resist attempts to make the SDP ineffective or ineffectual in the contest for power and render it an ally of the lacklustre ruling regime.
“We shall resist the machinations of the burgeoning usurpers,” he said.