Post Election: Labour Party Warns Against Destructive Criticisms, Calls For Rebuilding Efforts
November 14, 2023
By Frank Oshanugor
Leadership of the Labour Party (LP) has reacted to a negative publication in the social media which tried to impugn the integrity of the Julius Abure-led national executive of the Party.
In a press statement on Tuesday, the National Publicity Secretary of Labour Party, Mr. Obiora Iloh said, “our attention has been drawn to a social media publication titled “Time Up Julius Abure, We Demand A Labour Party That Must Stand For The Masses Of Our People” which was authored and signed by Diokpa Delly Ajufo, Zariyi Yusuf, Hon. Keftin Amuga, Dr. Peter
Piper, Igwe K.C, Tony Magnifiquedude Asekome, Alhaji Audie Mohammed, Prof Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr on behalf of various bodies they represent. Some of these names we note are not even card carrying members of our party. The statement however was made against the current National Working Committee of the party as led by Barrister Julius Abure.
“In their hasty attempt to vilify the Abure leadership and to also destroy the facts of humongous achievements made by this present leadership, in so short a time, they conjured several allegations which are purely for the purpose of slander and muckraking. We would have naturally ignored the statement because they are both myopic and baseless but in order not to allow our numerous members and supporters as well as other reading public to be misled, it became imperative to educate the authors of the statement and to also make some clarification on some of the misinformation they pushed out either ignorantly or mischievously.
“A cursory look at the authors of the statement will reveal their ignorance on the workings of the party, the party constitution, the electoral act and the 1999 constitution as amended. Being new joiners and not knowing the culture of the party (some of them just a few months old in the party) of course, that’s what you get when ignorance and overzealousness
overwhelm your reasoning. Most of those who authored the statement did not even win their units let alone winning their Local Government and State. It is on record that most members of the National Working Committee of the party delivered their units and their states. Barrister Julius Abure, for instance, scored 79 percent in Edo state, thereby denying other political parties the opportunity of scoring the required 25 percent in the state.
“We would therefore respond to their allegations as follows:
On the allegation that the leadership of the party has not been able to translate to success the support given by the members of the party and the Obidient Movement. It is pertinent to state categorically that this would be the first time in the history of the Labour Party to have contested vigorously in a presidential election. Yet, after all the manipulations of the result, Labour Party won 12 states in the Presidential election, One governorship seat, 8 seats in the Senate, 35 seats at the Federal House of Representatives and numerous other seats in the State Houses of Assembly. This is also the first time, the Labour Party will be a major political force to be reckoned with and as at today in Nigeria, going by INEC’s records and the performances of the various political parties, Labour Party can best be described as the Third Force in Nigeria and these achievements were recorded by the party within five months, the shortest possible time in the history of political parties in Nigeria.
On the allegation that Labour Party has become a transactional party. This again shows the high level of ignorance exhibited by the authors of that statement. Perhaps, if they have said so before the assumption of office by Barrister Abure, it may have been understood. But under the present leadership, the team has been committed to the growth and development of the party. We will not bother them with several offers that were made and rejected by Abure leadership in other to build, consolidate and make Labour Party a truly alternative political party that it has become today.
On the allusion that the owners of the party are being distanced from the party. We want to state clearly that this would be the first time that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) will be enjoying a cordial and harmonious relationship with the party. It will interest you to know that towards the preparation to the 2023 general election, both NLC and TUC had a summit in conjunction with the Labour Party where they came up with the modus operandi on how to work together for the purpose of that election. Unknown to the authors of the statement, over 50 members of the Organised Labour were members of the National Campaign Council at various levels including the directorate of Labour Services headed by a former President of the TUC, Olaleye Quadri. They equally participated in all the campaigns across the states through their state councils, and their representatives in the campaign council. Both NLC and TUC have active representations in the National Working Committee of the party and they are still serving as Deputy National Chairmen as mandated by the constitution of the party. There is no doubt that the Labour Party enjoys a cordial and harmonious working relationship with the NLC and TUC.
On the allegation that money exchanged hands during the Imo state party governorship primaries. We state categorically that it is unknown to the leadership of the party that money exchanged hands during the party primaries in Imo state. Be it known that the leadership of the party was committed to free, fair and credible primaries that produced the most competent candidate for the party. The said primary election was televised live on national Television and this ensured its competitiveness and credibility. The party members in the state made their choice and the party national leadership stood by their choice. The authors of the statement would have preferred a certain aspirant, who having lost in the primaries went ahead to pick the ticket of another party. While the Labour Party candidate came third as announced by INEC, the authors’ preferred choice struggled from behind thus rubbishing their popularity hypothesis. The outcome of the election has shown very clearly that distinguished Senator Athan Achonu is very popular and was the best choice for the party.
On the allusion that the leadership of the party compromised as alleged by our governorship candidate in Bayelsa state. The party has since addressed the matter as the allegation was frivolous and unsubstantiated. It also shows that the authors of the statement truly do not follow the activities of the party. It clearly shows that they are not abreast with the responses of the party. The leadership of the party did not compromise and did not enter into any understanding with any other candidate in Bayelsa State governorship election. Labour Party had in the past disciplined some of its members who engaged in activities that are unwholesome. For instance, the Rivers state executive committee was dissolved over their sharp practices during the last general election. Former National Publicity Secretary Abayomi Arabambi, former Youth Leader Anselem Eragbe and some others were suspended for carrying out nefarious activities. This current leadership is above board and we are therefore embarrassed that the authors could make such statement.
On the court judgement which they alleged terminated the tenure of the current National Working Committee. The leadership of the Labour Party is not aware of such judgement. As you are aware, court judgements are not procured from the back door. We have not being in any litigation in which judgment has been giving that has terminated the tenure of the current National Working Committee. This again shows the high level of ignorance of the authors of the Statement as it relates to the constitution of the party, the electoral act and the 1999 constitution. Again the constitution of the party empowers the National Executive Council of the party to extend the tenure of the National Working Committee if it is impracticable to hold the National Convention. When the tenure of the current executive expired earlier this year, NEC in its wisdom concluded that because of the plethora of cases in the courts, and having just concluded the general election, it was inexpedient to hold the National Convention hence the tenure of the current executive was extended by one year. In the past, NEC had also extended the tenure of the NWC particularly in 2013 and 2018 respectively. It is a standard practice in Nigeria and it is also constitutional.
On the fact that Edo state is Obidient and therefore requires a proactive leadership to win Edo governorship election. The leadership of the party agrees that Edo state is Obidient but this was as a result of the hard work, commitment and the leadership style of the National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure who is not only from the state but has been coordinating all the activities of both the Labour Party and Obidient movement in the state. His leadership style has made the party very attractive to everyone in the state. Therefore, if there is any person or persons who should drive the 2024 Edo Guber election activities, it should be the current National Working Committee ably led by Barrister Julius Abure.
In conclusion, we want to admonish the authors of the statement that it is better to be a good follower because it is only those who are good followers that can be good leaders tomorrow. It is very clear that the characteristics that they have chosen to exhibit appears to suggest that they may never be good leaders when such opportunities present themselves some day.
It is also natural that after every electoral contest, a few individuals may be disgruntled or aggrieved and as such the party leadership may be exposed to all forms of criticism by both members and non members alike, but we advise that such criticism must be tailored to aid growth and development in the party, and not necessarily to be destructive. Labour Party
has had its fair share of intra-crisis and we think that members should desist from escalating further crisis. We therefore view it as great concern when members begin to threaten the very fabric that holds the party together. We encourage members to be obligated to the party and always be guided by the rules of the party.
In a very short period from now, we will commence our drive for membership across the nation and we urge people, including the authors of the statement to use this time to formalise their membership of the Labour Party by also ensuring that they visit their wards, register and ensure they help the party grow in their localities.