• Sunday, April 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

LP crisis deepens despite Obi’s efforts to build formidable opposition

INEC disowns LP’s national convention

Amidst growing concerns over the inability of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to tackle the myriad of challenges facing Nigeria, political pundits believe that the endless crises rocking the opposition parties, especially the Labour Party constitutes a distraction in Nigeria’s quest to strengthen opposition parties.

The Labour Party is currently in another round of legal crises, this time over allegations of impropriety over the party’s finances, leading to the suspension of the Oluchi Opera, its national treasurer.

As group passes “Vote of No Confidence” on Abure.

This is as a group claiming to be State Chairman of the Party said they have passed a ” vote of no confidence” on the Abure-led national executive committee

The crisis has forced the party’s Presidential Candidate in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi to issue strong directives to all the various groups that made up the Obi- Datti Campaign team, to carry out forensic audits of income and expenditures, before, during, and after the 2023 elections.
BusinessDay gathered that Opara had raised alarms over an alleged breach of the party’s financial procedures, specifically against Julius Abure, the Party’s National Chairman.

She alleged that Abure ” misappropriated about N3.5b party funds, allegedly to buy ” choice properties” in Abuja.

The allegations were denied by the party saying that “they are not only unfounded but also baseless”.

BusinessDay gathered that the Party’s National Working Committee NWC in an attempt to unravel the source of the allegations, invited the National Treasurer to a meeting, which she refused to honour, according to Obiora Ifoh, the Party’s National Publicity Secretary.

“She was invited with the intention to ensuring fair hearing and providing a level playing ground, by the Labour Party’s National Working Committee NWC, but she shunned the invitation and we had no choice but to suspend her”

The party is not new to crises as BusinessDay checks show that the party had been engrossed in accusations and counter-accusations over financial impropriety against officials of the party.

Oluchi Opara was a time also accused of running the party’s accounting process exclusively with a former leader of the party, without providing a single document of financial records from 2014 to 2021

” They accused her of some financial misappropriation and lack of accountability and transparency

” The party raised an alarm in 2017 and initiated the struggle for accountability. If you recall in 2017 the party was also in turmoil like this where we fought hard and there was a forensic audit report where Oluchi Opara was responsible for signing and transferring money to personal accounts. All the records are here, from 2014 to 2017″

Ifoh lamented that the Labour Party has been under ” a siege” by some political forces that don’t want the party to rise up

While the party was making efforts to tackle the ongoing crises , a fresh twist however emerged with a group claiming to be State Chairmen of the party, on Monday, announced that they ” have passed a vote of no confidence on Abure”

BusinessDay gathered that the move was allegedly, ” spearheaded by Abayomi Arabambi, former National Publicity Secretary of the party, “in cohort with his rebel group, which he, as usual assembled and labeled them state chairmen.”

Ifoh while asking members of the public to disregard the news as it is fake news”, noted that ” It is one of the sustained propaganda attacks initiated by their sponsors to discredit the party.

“The INEC-recognized state chairmen will very soon address the media.

“Let it be known that the Labour Party is under the worst kind of siege ever but you can be assured that the party will survive them.”

But the party’s former National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi, in his reaction, described Abure’s leadership of the LP as ” a disaster”

” Abure is the reason why the Labour Party is not progressing. We had anticipated that he would lead us to build a great party, but he has failed that is why the State Chairman of our party has passed a vote of no confidence on him”
Arabambi while lamenting the state of Nigeria’s economy, said the Labour Party was best positioned to give Nigerians purposeful leadership under Peter Obi

” The day Abure steps aside, we will boldly step in to work with Peter Obi

” Look at how Nigerians are suffering, what has the All Progressive Congress APC got to offer us? Is it the N1600 to one Dollar exchange rate or the bag of rice that has risen to N75,000 per 50kg bag. Is that why we will support the APC government? The problem the Labour Party has is Julius Abure and we are glad even Peter Obi has noticed that” he said.

Tanko Yunusa, the Spokesperson of the Obi-Datti Campaign Organisation, however, appealed to party loyalists to toe the laid down structures to address their grievances, if any.

Tanko who acknowledged that the party was facing post elections challenges, said a party made up of vibrant members, it was expected that there must be voices of dissent, but added that” the party will overcome its challenges

” Our Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi has directed all the various groups to ensure that they are up-to-date with their accounts. He has assured that he will be accountable to Nigerians and it is also expected that anyone who works with him must follow in his footsteps.

” The party is aware of the ongoing challenges and has put mechanisms in place to address them.
” I can assure you that everyone will get a fair hearing. But they must work within the party structures” he said.

Speaking on the unending crises rocking the Labour Party Goddy Ehimikhuai, a legal practitioner believes that the must have a strong internal democratic mechanism to address crises.

” One of the challenges we have noticed in dealing with party crises is that where the internal mechanisms are not democratic enough, few individuals will hijack the party.

” The Labour Party is unique in that the Presidential candidate is the main focus of attraction. If you remove Peter Obi from the party today, that party would collapse like a pack of cards”

” Unfortunately, not many who claim to belong to the party believe in what he is doing. Otherwise, these challenges will not be there”.