Labour Party faction holds primaries, picks presidential candidate Wednesday

The crises rocking the Labour Party (LP) deepened on Tuesday as the party’s former deputy national chairman, Calistus Uju Okafor, said his faction had successfully concluded the national and houses of assembly primaries on Monday.

Okafor, who disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, also said necessary plans had been perfected by his faction to hold the presidential primary on Wednesday, where the presidential standard-bearer of the party would be elected.

He said the lists of the candidates that had emerged so far would be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on or before Friday.

He said his position and actions were based on the need to ensure justice, fairness and equity, stressing that he had nothing against the person of former governor Peter Obi, whom the other faction of LP had presented as its presidential candidate.

Okafor, who insisted that he remained the acting national chairman of the LP following the sacking of its late chairman, Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, also clarified that there was no agreement yet between him and a former presidential spokesperson, Dr. Doyin Okupe.

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He said no meaningful discussion had taken place between him and Okupe, who is now the campaign manager for Obi.

Okafor said: “On Doyin Okupe, it is unfortunate that people take someone else for granted. I wonder why people want to use others for their selfish interest.

“I am fighting for justice. There’s no where in any political party that an acting national secretary can take over the national chairmanship position. We have the deputy vice-chairman and the zonal vice chairmen.

“There is no where in the constitution that says an acting national secretary could take over the leadership of a political party when the deputy national chairman and zonal vice-chairmen are present. I am not persecuting Peter Obi.

“When Okupe called me, I told him that I was open for discussion. I was now surprised when he went to the media and said a different thing from what I told him.

“It is clear that he wanted to take me for granted. The leadership of the other faction is going about that I’m looking for recognition. It is an insult to me as a person.

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“They should know that their leader is an acting national secretary, while I, Calistus Uju Okafor, is the acting national chairman. The court will soon remove them. I am very open to any discussion for the right thing to be done.

“The leader of the other faction should remain as the acting national secretary while I play my role as the acting national chairman. Every other positions in the Labour Party remain the same until we all obey the consent judgment that says an all inclusive and expansive convention be held.

“Meanwhile, as the acting national chairman of the Labour Party, I, Calistus Uju Okafor, states that the party had successfully concluded all the national and houses of assembly primaries in Ihiala, Anambra State on Monday and the presidential primary will hold on Wednesday and by latest, Friday, we are going to submit the authentic list of the Labour Party candidates to the INEC.”

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