MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
A new Caretaker Committee Chairman of Lagos State chapter of the Labour Party (LP) on Tuesday emerged at a well attended stakeholders’ meeting. She is Pastor (Mrs) Dayo Ekong who has reportedIy been an active player in the party.
Addressing hundreds of LP members at the FM Event Centre located at GRA, Ikeja, Mr. Ezekiel Kayode Salako who has occupied the chairmanship position in the last five months though with opposition from some party members, said Ekong was diligently chosen to succeed him following his recent appointment as the Special Adviser to the party’s National Chairman, Barr. Julius Abure in addition to being Lagos Liaison Officer of the party.
Explaining further the reason for relinguishing the State Chairmanship of the party, Salako said he is already a Federal Constituency candidate in the February 25, 2023 National Assembly Election. He would therefore not want to saddle himself with many activities. “I have therefore willing resigned from the chairmanship position, not that anybody sacked me.”
According to him, one of his principal reasons for standing for election into the House of Representatives was to ensure that Labour Party has a good number of lawmakers in the incoming government so as to make governance easy for Mr. Peter Obi whom he believes would win the presidential election.
Prior to officially handing the reins of office to the newly announced Chairman of party’s Caretaker Committee, Mrs. Ekong at the stakeholders meeting, Salako took time to dismiss the widely held belief that he has been a mole in Labour Party working for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
In his words, “if I am a mole for APC in Labour Party, how possible would it be for me to win ticket for the House of Representatives primaries in my constituency? The truth is that over the years, I have been a member of the APC but always been denied of the opportunity of winning a ticket at the primaries. When I realized that the odds were against me in APC, I decided to seek relevance elsewhere. I am so grateful that Labour Party has made me what APC could not make me over the years.”
Displaying the original copy of his letter of appointment from the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Salako emphasised that efforts made by Toyin Sokumbi who Leads a faction of LP Caretaker Committee was a dissident group who did not mean well for the Labour Party and its candidates. Sokumbi had in a video message which trended on Monday advised LP members in the State to shun the stakeholders meeting scheduled by Salako.
This act was described as irresponsible by Salako who argued that his leadership of party on Caretaker basis before his recent appointment was legally approved by the national leadership of the party.
Names of other members of the Ekong-led newly constituted Caretaker Committee were announced and as the Labour Party Governorship candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour was inaugurating them, a few LP members openly went wildly condemning the non-inclusion of some party members.
The situation was almost going to result in total disruption of the meeting but for the quick intervention of some armed policemen and the party leadership.
Speaking to the audience prior to the brief interruption and soon after normalcy had been restored, Gbadebo said two of his happiest moments in recent time as a politician were the day he emerged winner of the Labour Party Governorship primary in Lagos and the large crowd of supporters of Labour Party present at the stakeholders meeting.
He posited that the lack of structure of LP which was the sing song of opposition parties few months ago has suddenly made a paradigm shift with the presence of Ward officials, Local Government and state executives of the party everywhere. He paid tribute to Salako for building the party within fives months in Lagos.
He subsequently apologised to those who felt aggrieved by the non inclusion of their candidates in the new Caretaker Committee, emphasising that things would normalise in the nearest future.
According to him, Labour Party has been progressing by the grace of God and “we must not destroy the grace.” He preached love to everyone with a reminder that “Peter Obi whom we all are following, is a man of peace and humility anywhere he goes.”
Speaking to journalists on the sideline of the event, the new Chairman, Mrs. Dayo Ekong promised that Labour Party would become a household name in Lagos soonest as her administration would reach out to residents through the use of available media of communication just as she described communication as being very vital in human relationship.
She promised that if Peter Obi wins the February 25 Presidential Election, Nigerians would surely heave a sigh of relief adding that the current “japa syndrome” by many Nigerian youths would no longer be tenable as there would be jobs to take care of them. “People, especially the youths would not be migrating again as it is currently done,” she emphasised.
She has therefore encouraged all LP members and Obi-Datti Supporters not to relent in ensuring that the Labour Party wins both the presidency and other positions.
The general atmosphere at the well attended meeting signified that the various factions of the party in Lagos State would harmoniously work for the victory of the LP in Lagos. There were visible indications of unity amongst the party members.
Apart from the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, LP Senatorial Candidate for Lagos Central, Abiodun Dabiri, many House of Representatives candidates, Lagos House of Assembly candidates, Ward Chairmen, Local Government officials etc of the party were all in attendance.