May 18, 2024

Edo Guber: LP Faults Akpata’s Claim On Party Primaries

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…Says credible process in selecting the party’s flagbearer is non-negotiable

By Simeon OSAJIE

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The Edo State chapter of Labour Party (LP) has reacted to a letter dated 18th February, 2024, addressed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abuja, by Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata, a gubernatorial aspirant for the Edo 2024 election, alleged that he perceived lack of preparedness of the party for the Edo gubernatorial primaries.

The State Publicity Secretary and Image maker of the party, Comrade Sam Uroupa in a press statement made available to journalists emphasized that ensuring a free, fair, and credible process in selecting the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the forthcoming Edo governorship election is non-negotiable.

According to Uroupa’s statement, Olumide Akpata’s letter, which has been circulating in various media outlets, raises urgent concerns regarding LP primaries.

“Normally, we would not have replied to the letter; however, due to the concerns regarding integrity, fairness, and transparency raised about the party in relation to the ward congress and primaries process, we find it necessary to provide some clarifications.

“To set the record straight, Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata complained that there is a complete blackout of information on the venues for the 192 ward congress scheduled to hold on 20th February, 2024 -is not true. Upon the issuance of the guidelines and schedule for the congress and primaries, it was explicitly mentioned that the congresses would convene at the ward headquarters of the 192 wards, as outlined in the guidelines.

“This information alone adequately informs aspirants, delegates, and party members about the designated venue for the congress. Also, the Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Edo State Chapter was duly communicated to via a letter dated 15th February, 2024 with Ref. No.: LP/ESO/INEC/2024-322 notifying them of the ward congress taking place on the 20th February, 2024 in the wards secretariat across the 192 wards in Edo State.

“He also stated that the party has failed to publish the specific guidelines detailing a step-by-step process governing the ward congress and primaries is inaccurate. This is because the party conducted a global press conference on Wednesday, 31st January 2024, during which the precise activities, along with designated times and dates for the congress, were communicated to aspirants, party members, and the general public.

“Additionally, the assertion by Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata that the Labour Party was hesitant to organize a stakeholders meeting is incorrect. The party has been organizing series of stakeholder meetings to inform them about the strategies and activities scheduled for the congress and primaries. Sessions were conducted with aspirants from Edo Central, Edo South, and Edo North Senatorial districts on Thursday, the 18th, Monday the 22nd, and Tuesday the 23rd of January 2024 respectively to update them on the forthcoming plans for both the congress and primaries, as well as the overall party status. In addition, meetings with various stakeholders and leaders were also arranged. At one of these stakeholder gatherings overseen by the National Chairman on Sunday, 4th of February, 2024, individuals believed to be backed by the opposition parties and those trying to create an imaginary faction disrupted the meeting with protests.”

Going further, the LP image maker added: “Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata also claimed that he has confirmed from the leadership of law enforcement and security agencies that they are not aware of the party’s congress and primaries activities is not also true. This is because the party in a letter dated 17th February, 2024 with Ref. No.: LP/ESO/CP.ED/320 addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command requesting for security details to cover the party primaries across the 192 wards in Edo State.

“The party in its wisdom also set up a screening committee for the delegates to the congress and has come up with its screening report that is already in the public domain of the various LGAs and wards.

“Furthermore, Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata’s claim that the lack of information and transparency regarding the primary election process resulted in a mass departure of aspirants from the party is unfounded. This is because those who withdrew or abandoned their supposed ambitions were not officially recognized as LP aspirants.

“Aspirants are individuals who have successfully purchased both the expression of interest and nomination forms, as opposed to those who merely expressed interest without completing the form purchase. None of the individuals in question acquired either the nomination form or expression of interest.

“Some of these individuals only utilized the party’s branding on social media platforms like Facebook to solicit funds and donations from LP supporters worldwide. After achieving their objectives, they abandoned their alleged ambitions based on flimsy and unverifiable excuses, as detailed in Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata’s letter announcing their departure from the party or resignation from their ambitions.”

“In conclusion, the LP leadership, led by Barr. (Dr.) Julius Abure as the National Chairman and distinguished Comr. Kelly Ogbaloi as the State Chairman, has consistently emphasized that ensuring a free, fair, and credible process in selecting the party’s gubernatorial flag bearer is non-negotiable. The party is determined to steer clear of the recurring errors seen in the APC and PDP, which have hindered the country’s progress and perpetuated poor governance. Under this leadership, the LP is at the forefront of advocating for electoral reform in Nigeria to establish a framework for transparent, equitable, and trustworthy processes in electing leaders, ultimately aiming to foster good governance.”

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