2023: Labour Party Disowns Factional Presidential Candidate as Ezenwafor Emerges
James Sowole in Abeokuta and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Labour Party (LP) yesterday disowned a former aspirant of the party, Samson Uchenna, who a group claimed to be a presidential candidate of the party.
Also, another faction of LP in Abuja yesterday elected Chief Diga Ezenwafor as it presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
But LP Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Abayomi Arabambi, in a statement, made available to journalists in Abeokuta, stressed that, “Labour Party has no Factional Candidate.”
The party declared that Mr. Peter Obi remains its sole presidential standard bearer.
The declaration, was sequel to the activities of a group, @PDP Vanguard_ Labour Party, which had named Uchenna as factional candidate.
Arabambi, who described the activities of the group as criminal, said Obi remains the sole presidential candidate of Labour Party.
Arabambi said: “Labour Party here states categorically that this Samson Uchenna is not in any way our party presidential candidate, he is an aspirant on the platform of Labour Party who withdrew his nomination to support Mr. Peter Obi, voluntarily.
“The National Chairman has therefore directed that
Labour Party debunks this unsavory and mischievous misrepresentation of the 2023 Presidential Candidacy of the LP by the @PDPVanguard.”
It pointed out that Obi emerged in a transparently free, democratically credible, free and fair presidential primary held on May 30th, 2022, in Asaba.
The statement added: “For the avoidance of doubt, LP wishes to commend the sportsmanship of Sampson Uchenna Charles who was one of the four Presidential aspirants that voluntarily stepped down there by paving the way for the Peter Obi as the sole aspirant culminating in his emergence as the Labour Party’s sole 2023 presidential candidate.
“We in LP are aware that this is a mere rubbish being pushed by the jinxed opposition with the knowledge and acknowledged bias for nauseating and baseless internet misinformation. It is highly unethical and despicable.”
Meanwhile, another faction of LP in Abuja yesterday elected Ezenwafor as it presidential candidate.
Ezenwafor was the LP former Chairman in Anambra State, and erstwhile aide to former governors Chinwoke Mbandinuju and Willie Obiano.
His emergence was said to have taken place at the convention of the party held at the Garki area of Abuja.
A former deputy national chairman of the LP, who is leading the faction of the party, Calistus Uju Okafor, superintendent over the convention where Ezenwafor emerged as the flagbearer.
Addressing the national delegates after his emergence, Ezenwafor said, “I am on a rescue mission to free Nigerian from social, economic and political crises currently bedeviling it.”
He said having understudied two former governors in Anambra State and being the chairman of the party in the state, Ezenwafor said he had what it takes to lead the country to economic freedom.
“We are not after experiences in the executive office because those who were there before and had requisite experiences had failed us,” he added.
He also said he had a brighter chance of defeating the presidential candidates of other political parties being a young man with energy and vigour.
Also speaking in his capacity as the acting National Chairman, Okafor said the party had earlier in the week, successfully concluded the national and houses of assembly primaries.
He said Ezenwafor’s name as well as the lists of other candidates that had emerged so far, would be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday.
He reiterated the readiness of his faction’s national working committee to open discussions with Obi, who had emerged as the candidate of the Julius Abure-led faction of the party.
Okafor insisted that he had nothing against the person of Obi, but maintained that the former governor was in the faction of the party whose leadership was allegedly not recognised by the LP’s constitution.
He said, “I am fighting for Justice. There’s nowhere in our constitution that says Abure, in his capacity as the acting national secretary can take over the national chairmanship position when we have the deputy national chairman and six zonal vice chairmen.
“We don’t have anything against Peter Obi but he should know he should know that the leader of the faction he belongs to, is an acting national secretary while, I Calistus Uju Okafor remained the acting national chairman. The court will soon remove them. I am very open to any discussion for the right thing to be done.”
Okafor, a factional leader of the party, is currently in Court to challenge the legality of the leadership of Akingbade Oyelakin, whom he said “represents persons wrongfully and unlawfully parading themselves as members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of Labour Party”.
He had also joined INEC as a co-defendant.
Others sued by Okafor included Abure and Umar Farouq who emerged as the national chairman and the secretary of the party, respectively, at a national executive committee meeting of the party held in Benin, Edo State, in March 2021.