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Crisis Rocks Labour Party as Peter Obi Threatens To Leave Amid Leadership Tussle

As LP’s crisis deepens, Peter Obi considers leaving the party, citing lack of consultation in party decisions.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has threatened to dump the party ahead of the 2027 election season. 

He, however, reaffirmed his membership of the party, explaining that he did not attend its National Convention because its national chairman, Julius Abure did not embark on wide consultation before the exercise.

This is coming as the Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2023 elections, Akin Osuntokun yesterday said that the absence of Obi, members of the National Assembly and other strategic stakeholders of the party at the just concluded National Convention of the party at Nnewi in Anambra State was an indication of the non-acceptability of the convention.

The LP has been hit by crisis following the allegations of misappropriation of funds, tussle for leadership and calls for the resignation of the party’s chairman.

Last Wednesday, the LP conducted a controversial national convention in Anambra State, which re-elected Abure as its national chairman.

Obi and the only governor on the party’s platform, Alex Otti of Abia State did not attend the convention.

Speaking at a Spaces session on X (formerly Twitter) organised by Parallel Facts on Friday night, Obi said he is still a member of the LP, noting that he will never engage in anti-party activities.

Obi said he ignored the convention because the LP leadership under Abure failed to do wide consultations with key stakeholders of the party before embarking on the said convention. 

He emphasised the need for the right thing to be done to salvage the party, adding that he is more passionate about building a new Nigeria than building a new Labour Party.

Speaking on the crisis rocking the party, the former Anambra State governor said the focus should be on building a new Nigeria.

He also called for the structuring of the ‘Obidient movement’.

 “I am still a member of the Labour Party and I don’t and will never engage in anti-party activities,” Obi said.

“We will do whatever is possible. As we go along, we will see what happens. Let us remain focused on building a new Nigeria.

“We want the party to work and pursue what we set out to do and that is to change the country. We should not lose that focus and face minor issues that will distract us.

“We promised to build Nigeria, we did not promise to build a new Labour Party.

“It is the standard practice around the world where movements form themselves into blocs and are part of the political process.”

Obi explained that his primary focus, which committed members of the Obidient Movement have bought into, is all about making Nigeria work for all citizens; as such, he refuses to be distracted. 

According to him, the contrived crisis in the Labour Party was part of a distractive strategy, which neither he nor his supporters were willing to fall for. 

Obi said: “Our engagement is about Nigeria; they are trying to change our focus. What we want to do is not about Labour Party; it is about what the Obidients want to do about Nigeria.

 “We are thinking about water, we are thinking about power, we are thinking about employment, thinking about security. That should be our focus. 

“The other matter we will deal with. We were somewhere; we didn’t start with Labour.

“I’m a Christian. Jesus said, when you go into a city, try to change them, live with them, fast with them. In the end, if you can’t, come out and even wash the sand that is on your shoes. 

“He didn’t say go there and die with them. I tell you, I’m making spirited efforts to change them (LP), but I’m not going to die with them. 

“That will not stop what we set out to do. We will try to change them (LP), if we can’t, we will leave them; we will not die with them.” 

Using the opportunity to defend the criticisms of his frequent visits to mosques and churches, Obi said visiting worship centres and handing out donations at places he visits has always been his way of life long before he joined politics, noting that he is not campaigning.

“I am not campaigning. I have been doing things like this before I got into politics. It is bad that politics in Nigeria is transactional,” Obi said.

He also called state governors across the country to emulate Abia State where Governor Otti on March 22, signed a bill repealing the law that allowed former governors and their deputies to collect pensions.

Obi commended Otti and called on other state governors to emulate him.

“I have argued against humongous pensions for ex-governors. As governor, I did so too. My reason is simple — people are being owed all over the country, and are being paid as little as N4,000 and N5,000 as pensions,” he said.

“When I left Anambra State, they brought the pension law to me authorising a house for me in Awka, Abuja, or Lagos, similar vehicles as the serving governor to be changed every two or three years plus security, cooks, house helps, which I turned down.

 “I rejected that law and till today, Anambra has not bought me a sachet of water. The way the country is today, I urge every state to emulate Abia State,” Obi added.

Absence of Obi, Others Rob Convention of Legitimacy, Osuntokun Insists

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2023 elections, Osuntokun has said that the absence of Obi, members of the National Assembly and other strategic stakeholders of the party at the just concluded National Convention of the party was an indication of the non-acceptability of the convention.

Osuntokun also described the national convention as a kangaroo convention.

Speaking on ARISE NEWS on Saturday, he also described as a Greek gift, the award of the 2027 presidential ticket of the party to Obi.

He said the Abure-led party was not in a position to promise anybody any ticket as due processes were not followed, stressing that the processes to win the presidential ticket are well laid out through the convocation of a presidential convention with elected delegates.

“Does it mean that the purported chairman does not know the process to be followed for the election of a presidential candidate?” Osuntokun queried, adding “This is one of the problems we are complaining of.”

He said Abure’s ambition to sit tight in office as the national chairman of the party is part of the problems of the Nigerian leaders, who would not leave the office when the ovation is loudest.

He explained that soon the stakeholders will hold an authentic convention that will produce the national executive members of the party.

Osuntokun said without Obi and the Obidient Movement, there would be nothing left of the party.

Chuks Okocha

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