…amid kicks from NLC, LP faction

There seems to be no end to the troubles besieging the Labour Party as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday disassociated itself from the party national convention held in Nnewi, Anambra State, on Wednesday.

The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said in Abuja that the conduct of the convention was not monitored by INEC, but declined to state further why it was not monitored.

This is coming after the Labour Party at its Wednesday convention re-elected its embattled National Chairman, Mr. Julius Abure, for a second term by a unanimous affirmation of delegates despite the protests by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Abure was returned alongside other serving officers of the party loyal to him at the convention which was attended by party chairmen from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), members of states and national assemblies as well as representatives from LGAs.

The party also announced that it has reserved its 2027 presidential ticket for the party’s leader, Peter Obi.

A communiqué signed by Abure and the party’s National Secretary, Umar Faruk Ibrahim, also stated that Abia State Governor Alex Otti has the right of first refusal for the Abia State governorship ticket should he decide to seek re-election on the party’s platform.

This is even as the NLC has described Abure’s re-election as “an illegality”.

Reacting to Abure’s re-election, NLC spokesperson, Benson Upah, said “the whole exercise was a charade”.

“It is an illegality, a nullity. The whole exercise was a charade! Nothing can legitimise such brazen impunity,” he said.

The NLC accused Abure of “financial rascality and contempt for the leadership of NLC”, and of “unilaterally holding a National Convention in contravention of the constitution of the party”.

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Also, a factional chairman of the Labour Party in Anambra State, Mr Peter Okoye, has boasted that the Nnewi national convention would not stand.

Describing the convention as a sham, Okoye said: “This is not a convention. We are on top of the matter. It’s purely illegal.

“There was no ward congress, no local government congress, no state congress, and now who and who are the elected the delegates that are electing the National Working Committee, NWC, members?

“The NLC was not there, TUC was not there, the owners of the party and members of the NEC and BOT members were not there too. So, who is holding the convention?”

Meanwhile, the Labour Party National Legal Adviser, Mr Kehinde Edun, had told newsmen that the party had duly informed INEC about the change in venue and date.

“No, it is holding in Anambra. Nnewi, to be precise, not Umuahia in Abia State again. In fact, Umuahia was not even the first venue we chose. Benin was the first choice before we changed to Umuahia and now Nnewi.

“So, we are at liberty to pick any venue of our choice. We only need to inform INEC about the change in venue and the time,” Edun said.

Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 states that political parties shall give INEC at least 21 days’ notice of convention, congress, conference or meeting.

This includes the convention or meeting convened for “merger” and electing members of its executive committees and other governing bodies or nominating candidates.

Pundits say these unending crises may constitute a serious setback for the Labour Party as it goes into the off-cycle elections coming up in Edo and Ondo States later this year.