The Labour Party (LP) Governorship Substitution Primary Election for Lagos State has been postponed to Wednesday.
This followed controversies on the delegates list raised by one of the aspirants, Mr Moshood Salvador.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the process had started at Excel-Oriental Hotel, in Oshodi on Monday, when Salvador complained that 26 of his delegates were omitted from the list.
Salvador is contesting for the LP ticket with Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour at the party’s substitution primaries.
Salvador, who alleged that the delegates list for the substitution had been doctored, told newsmen before vacating the venue, that his camp could no longer trust the process.
“Yesterday, we agreed that he (Rhodes-Daviva) should bring 100 delegates, while I also bring100 delegates and the state executives will join the delegates to make 217 delegates for the substitution primaries.
“When I checked the list about 30 minutes to the primaries, we realised that 26 delegates out of mine have been removed and added to his.
“They (electoral officers) told me it was a mistake: that can never be taken as mistake.
” We have done all our best to ensure free and fair primaries.
Therefore, I cannot have confidence in this electoral body again.
“The party will need to reorganise itself.
The delegates list has been doctored, therefore we cannot have confidence in this electoral body again, “Salvador said.
Calling for the postponement of the primaries, Salvador urged the leadership of the party to be genuine, sincere, honest and fair.
Reacting to Salvador’s allegations, Mr Sam Okpala, the Lagos state Secretary of LP and Chairman of the LP Substitution Primary Election Planning Committee in the state, explained that the issue raised by Salvador bordering on omission of some names in his delegates list could be typographical error.
Okpala, who noted that the party was known for internal democracy, promised all aspirants a free, transparent and credible primary election.
“Whatever issue on ground, we will sought it out.
We urge them to exercise patience to see where the problem is coming from, rectify it and hold our primary election.
“As far as we are concerned, there was no omission.
We have not observed any omission in the list,” he said.
When all efforts to resolve the disagreement proved abortive and delegates left after waiting endlessly, Okpala told newsmen that the exercise had been postponed.
“The exercise has been postponed to Wednesday, same venue.
” On the call for cancellation of the primaries, Okpala said that no aspirant had the power to do so, describing it as personal opinion.
He said that all the relevant authorities were duly notified for the substitution primaries including INEC and security agents.
Okpala, who expressed surprise at the way an aspirant took just a minor error in the delegates list, said that party had made efforts to correct all observed errors to give a level playing ground for all aspirants.
“It is not new, you can be printing documents and make an error.
“We have only printed just a copy and we asked them to go through it.
We owned up that we will carry out the corrections.
If we have started using it, then he can complain,” he said.
According to him, the party leadership agreed on having 100 list each from Salvador and Rhodes-Vivours, with another 17 state officers.
He said the party leadership had on Sunday, invited both candidates to a meeting to tell them the process in order to ensure fairness to all.
“I am surprised to see what is happening today.
If the candidates are ready, we will go ahead, if they are not ready we will go back to Abuja,” Okpala said.
On the need for the substitution primaries, Alhaji Bashiru Apapa, the LP Deputy National Chairman, told newsmen that Prince Ifagbami Awamaridi, the LP gubernatorial candidate, whose name was published by INEC, was just a ‘placeholder’.
He stated that Awamaridi had written formerly that he had withdrawn from that office, adding that when he took the form, he was just a placeholder and that meant that he could be removed.
“That means his name can be changed for another candidate,” he said.
The Labour Party (LP) on Thursday appealed to its members to embark on aggressive mobilisation to ensure the party’s victory in the 2023 general elections.
The party’s Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Bashiru Apapa, made the appeal at a sensitisation programme for party’s members and the support groups for its Presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi in Ado-Ekiti.
Apapa identified the growing acceptability of the party and its candidate as its strength ahead of the 2023 elections.
He urged members to canvass for more support for the party’s success to make life better for Nigerians.
Apapa said that Obi’s presidential bid enjoyed the support of notable leaders, who were tired of the negative drift of the nation in the hands of its past administrators.
The party chieftain said that Obi’s goodwill and his past achievements were attracting Nigerians to the party.
“We have not experienced what we are experiencing now in terms of people joining the party.
We keep gaining more members and supporters every day; in fact, we are elated.
“There are some people who did not believe that Obi could come out to contest and some leaders are in support of Obi. “We have the support of more than five governors that are supporting the party underneath.
We don’t want to mention their names for now.
“Our candidate’s past achievements have attracted supporters and again, not all of them believe that Nigeria should continue the way it is going now.
“They want change in the country,” he said.
The deputy chairman said that past administrations had made the party the centre of their criticisms, because they were afraid of the growing support from Nigerians, which he attributed to the party’s popularity.
Also, the party’s National Legal Adviser, Mr Akingbade Oyenekan, expressed confidence that the party would secure more votes than all other parties in the South-West. Oyenekan said that people were anxious for solutions to the problems of the country which he said, Obi would provide.
Also, the Labour Party Chairman in Ekiti, Mr Odunayo Okunade, expressed concern that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not continue with the Continuous Voter Registration in Ekiti after the June 18 governorship election.
Okunade said that such discontinuance would disenfranchise some voters in the 2023 general elections.
The state chairman urged INEC and other stakeholders in the elections to be fair to all political parties toward ensuring free, fair and credible polls.
Mr Ifagbemi Awamaridi, Lagos State Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), says he remains the party’s authentic chairman and 2023 governorship candidate in the state.
Awamaridi affirmed this on Saturday in Lagos at an interactive meeting with stakeholders, support groups and candidates of the party to unveil LP’s 10 Cardinal Programmes for the state.
According to him, the clarification becomes important following reports that he had been elevated to the national level of the party and that the ticket of the party has been given to Mr Moshood Salvador, who defected to the party on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Salvador, at his formal declaration for the LP , was presented by some national leaders of the party in attendance, including the Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Bashiru Apapa, as its Lagos governorship candidate.
Mr Seyi Sowunmi was announced as the chairman of the party in Lagos state.
Meanwhile, INEC publication of Personal Particulars of Governorship Candidates in Lagos state, showed that Awamaridi’s name was retained as the gubernatorial candidate of the party.
Awamaridi, however, said that since the party was not a ‘motor park’ association, there must be a documentation and letter if at all he would be removed as the chairman, stressing that the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) had not met in the last two years to even take such purported decision.
He said the LP National Chairman, Mr Julius Abure, was not involved in any of the activities and meetings purportedly organised by some party leaders to disorganise the party.
Awamaridi said: “Nobody can take over the party’s positions from the backyard.
The NEC meeting was about two years ago and nothing happens apart from the NEC decision.
“We are going into elections and we don’t want division in the Labour Party.
The Labour Party is one in Lagos state.
“Also, INEC has released the personal particulars of governorship and house of assembly candidates across the state, the names you will see there are all the candidates here and the governorship candidate that is there is Ifagbemi Awamaridi.
“Mr Peter Obi is our Presidential Candidate and we are all going to work for victory for all candidates.” He alleged that some people had been sent by some politicians to decimate and destroy the LP so as to scuttle Obi’s presidential ambition.
Awamaridi, who called for unity and harmonisation among different support groups , said the party had conducted approved primaries monitored by INEC before the surge in the party over Obi’s defection.
“We have not been sleeping and joking with the power that be in Lagos state.
We have been working and by the Grace of God, we are going to take over Lagos in 2023 to make life better.
“We are seriously on ground.
We have completed our House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governorship primaries before Obi coming into our party.
“We are on ground and working to win.
We are signing a bond and contract with the poor,” he said.
According to him, the chapter is not going into the 2023 elections empty and without agenda, hence the unveiling of the 10 cardinal programmes for the people of the state if elected.
“We want to dictate electioneering in Africa.
if we don’t perform, people should tell us we have failed.
These are our bonds with the masses,” he added.
Some of the programmes unveiled included, full commitment to restructuring, free adult and compulsory education up to tertiary level, free local health services, free internet connection throughout Lagos state and free stalls and start up capital for the poor.
Others were regular potable water, electricity, youth empowerment through public private partnership, transport configuration and redistribution of wealth from super-rich to the .
Awamaridi, who decried wastages of public funds by politicians, said: “the wide gap between the rich and the poor is the reason for many challenges facing the nation, including security.” He said the party would ensure redistribution of wealth from the super rich through taxation to better the lot of the poor.
Awamaridi said the party had concluded arrangements to kick off massive mobilisation and registration of new members to expand the party for better performance in the 2023 general elections.
“We plan to register not less than four million new members.
If we cannot get four million, we will get two milion newly registered voters.
We are going to have a data base,” he said.
Speaking, Mr Tony Onyekaba, Leader, the Nigerian Youth for Peter Obi, admonished the party leadership and all support groups to harmonise and work together to win.
“Let us go into this war with winning mentality.
We must come together as a family to fight this battle.
We should not go into this elections to test run, we must go to win.
Let us present sellable candidates that can win,” Onyekaba said.
NAN reports that the meeting was attended by some state executives of labour party, labour union leaders, youth groups and other support groups for the presidential ambition of Obi.