Breaking: LP expresses worry over continuous sack of its lawmakers by Enugu tribunal, blames state party leaders

By Nneka Nweze

The national leadership of the Labour Party has expressed worries over the incessant sack of its lawmakers by the Enugu State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu, blaming the state party leadership for the undue influence exerted on national officials of the party during the conduct of the party’s primaries in Enugu State.

In a statement issued yesterday after the meeting of the party leaders in Abuja, Obiora Ifoh, National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party disclosed that the emergence of some candidates of the party in the last general elections in Enugu State was marred by irregularities due to the disregard of the due process in the conduct of the party’s primary elections.

Mr. Ifoh maintained that the leadership of the party led by Mr. Casmir Agbo failed to comply with the directives of the party at the national level, and had gone into handpicking candidates instead of conducting proper primary election as enshrined in the new electoral act 2022.

While addressing newsmen, the National Publicity Secretary expressed fears that some of the candidates from Labour Party occupying different elective positions in Enugu did not have their names enlisted in the party register submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as stipulated by the electoral act, while some other lawmakers from the party had their elections being challenged in court on the ground that their names were not on the list of candidates published by INEC before the general elections.

He cited the case of Barr. Chijioke Okereke, member representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji-River Federal Constituency who was sacked by the tribunal on the ground that he was a stranger to the election, as his name was not on the result sheet as the candidate of the Labour Party.

According to him, the name of the former minority leader of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu appeared on the list published by INEC as the Labour Party House of Representative candidate for the election, and not Chijioke Okereke, insisting that this could have happened where the state party leaders connived with few selfish individuals from the national headquarters to subvert justice and pander to the interest of some rich and powerful individuals in the state against the general interest of party members.

“Enugu State is facing serious legal battles as we speak. The party leaders at the national level have met to deliberated on some issues affecting Enugu and some other states in the South East. During our meeting, we noticed that there were many irregularities in the primary elections conducted in Enugu. The issue first started over who was the actual governorship candidate of the party. It later escalated to the senatorial candidates, one of which was the case of Okey Ezea and Ernest Ugwu of Enugu North senatorial district.

“Okereke becomes the second member of the Labour Party to be sacked by the tribunal after Prof. Sunday Nnamchi representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency in Enugu State was replaced by Hon. Prince Cornelius Nnaji, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, by a three-man panel led by A. M. Abubakar.

“Today, it’s still a serious contentious issue in court that Chijioke Edeoga, our party’s governorship candidate did not have his name on the register of party members the party submitted to the Independent INEC 30 days to the election because he participated in the PDP primary election before defecting to the Labour Party. What prevented other well-to-do individuals who were qualified and had their names in the party’s register from getting the ticket if not that some people circumvented some part of the stipulated processes? The party looked into all these issues today one after the other and had concluded that there is a serious problem in Enugu due to bad party leadership and we have resolved to change the leadership of the party in no distant time. We want to always get things right. That’s what the party stands for; due process,” Mr. Ifoh said.

Meanwhile, Chijioke Edeoga, Chief Nnia Nwodo and other top Labour Party officials in the state were rumoured to have held a meeting with a northern Emir in Abuja. Though details of their meeting are yet to be known, rumors have it that it is not unconnected with his gubernatorial ambition.

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