LP crisis: Obidients mull options ahead of 2027

•Obi’s silence explained

•It’s too early for such

By John Alechenu

The festering crisis in the Labour Party (LP) is tearing the party apart ahead of the 2027 general elections. Although the Party leadership has declared that it has reserved its 2027 Presidential ticket for the party’s National Leader, Mr. Peter Obi, supporters still fear for the party’s future.

National Chairman of the party, Comrade Julius Abure who secured a second term at the party’s National Convention in Nnewi, Anambra State, on Wednesday, is having an uphill task convincing stakeholders especially the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), that the convention followed proper procedure.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has, through the Spokesperson to the INEC National Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, disowned the convention.

According to Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act (2010) as amended, all registered political parties are mandated to give the commission at least 21 days notice before holding a convention.

INEC is also empowered by the Electoral Act of 2022 in Article 82.—(2) which states: “The Commission may, with or without prior notice to the political party attend and observe any convention, congress, conference or meeting which is convened by a political party for the purpose of (a) electing members of its executive committees or other governing bodies”

However, while INEC has declared that LP failed to comply with its rules, the Abure-led National Working Committee (NWC), insists it complied fully.

National Publicity Secretary of the LP, Obiora Ifoh, told Saturday Vanguard that the party under Abure will remain law abiding.

He said, “Our National Chairman is a lawyer by training. He ensures that everything we do as a party is in line with our Constitution, the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines. We duly notified INEC months before our last convention, we have evidence to prove this.”

Information available to Saturday Vanguard indicate that aggrieved party members are preparing a legal challenge to what they called Abure’s convention.

The party’s National Leader and Presidential Candidate in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has so far maintained stoic silence in the face of the leadership tussle. A close ally of Obi, who confided in Saturday Vanguard said, “He (Obi) doesn’t take a public stance on issues until he weighs the issues and reviews facts. As a leader, he has been working tirelessly behind the scenes. He is aware there are internal and external dimensions to this conflict and can’t afford to play into the hands of detractors.

“Recall, amidst allegations of financial impropriety leveled against Abure by the erstwhile LP National Treasurer, Ms. Oluchi Opara, he recommended that a forensic audit of the party’s finances be carried out. As I speak to you, there is no evidence that this has been done. In various private interventions, he continues to make a case for an all inclusive party leadership but a few who consider the LP platform as their personal fiefdom have refused to yield.”

Feelers from a critical mass within the party indicate growing discontent with the unfolding events.

The Obidient Movement, a group of ardent supporters of Mr. Peter Obi, who boast membership across party lines, are said to be considering other options should the LP platform become “unavailable” for Obi to actualize his Presidential ambition come 2027.

Attempts by some “Obidients” to make inroads into the mainstream LP have so far been rebuffed. This, political pundits argue, is at the crux of the current crisis. A leading member of this group who pleaded anonymity in deference to the national leader, said, “Some of us knew what happened in 2023. Funds were raised and sent out to states for logistics but traditional politicians within the party did what they know how to do best with such funds. We had embarrassing situations where agents who were largely volunteers couldn’t get ‘pure’ (satchet) water to drink even when we made provision, it was that bad. We can’t have a repeat of this, that’s why we are demanding accountability from the party leadership”.

Obi is no stranger to changing political platforms. He started his political journey as a member of the PDP before he moved to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) where he spent the greater part of eight years as Anambra State Governor before rejoining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He ditched the PDP platform to join the LP where he emerged as Presidential Candidate to contest the 2023 elections.

Director General of the Heritage Centre, Dr Katch Ononuju, who identifies as an Obidient, said, “This Movement transcends political, ethnic and social divides. It is a movement that unites Nigerians who believe in Peter Obi’s person and political theory that a new Nigeria where doing the right things will become the norm, is possible. I have heard speculations about the future of the movement and the Labour Party. In my view, it is pointless, there is no need. It is too early to begin to talk about such things. (Julius) Abure has just removed himself, how can you have a convention without Ward and State Congresses?

“How did you assemble the delegates you claimed voted at the convention? What kind of convention did you have without INEC and critical stakeholders like the NLC and the TUC? It took our movement seven, eight months to positively impact the electoral value of the Labour Party to make it a national brand. Right now, the issue of a platform is not and cannot be an issue.”

Former National Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), High Chief Peter Ameh, who is a leading member of the Labour Party, however said, “Without a doubt, Peter Obi is the fuel that propels the LP. For us to make progress as a party, we must ensure that our internal conflict resolution mechanisms work. I have always said this to Obidients, leaving the party is not the solution. If every time you have a quarrel with your wife you leave the marriage, you must be prepared for countless marriages in your lifetime.

“My advice to them is to remain and find an amicable solution to whatever issues that we have because political parties exist as vehicles for conflict resolution. Wherever there is more than one person you must prepare for conflict. Resolving these conflicts is part of the process.”

On his part, the party’s spokesman, Obiora Ifoh said, “Read the communique of our convention. Part of our resolution was that groups who worked outside the party should collapse their structures into the party to enhance coordination. We are a party guided by laws.”

However, we gathered that some Obidients who can’t stand the confusion in the Labour want a better organised platform for Obi.

‘You can’t believe what happened during the 2023 elections,’ one top Obidient said, adding ‘while Obi and his team were campaigning for votes some members of the party were campaigning for their pockets. The problem is that Labour Party members are too hungry and it is showing in the organisation of the party now. You can’t claim that they even respect Obi’s philosophy and principles. Why have they not done the audit Peter Obi told them to do? Obi preaches transparency but is LP secretariat transparent?.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Citypost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *