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Obi-Datti Campaign Criticises Labour Party’s Convention, Blames Chairman Abure for Crisis

Obi-Datti Campaign Spokesperson Tanko defends Peter Obi against claims of religious and ethnic politics, accuses Onanuga of pushing false narrative.

Spokesperson for the Obi-Datti Campaign Organization, Yinusa Tanko, has said the national convention of Labour Party (LP), held recently in Nnewi, Anambra State, was not successful because the embattled national chairman of the party, Julius Abure, dismissed the advice of the party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to conduct an all-inclusive convention.

Tanko, who spoke on a television programme in Abuja, said the current crisis rocking the party could have been prevented if the leadership had taken Obi’s advice.

He stated, “His Excellency, Peter Obi, made concerted efforts in trying to intervene at any point we have this particular issue and trying to improve.

“When the issue of the national convention came up, he (Obi) suggested to the national chairman that, because we are bigger now, we need to have a wider consultation.

“We need to meet with responsible and interested people, such as the TUC and NLC, stakeholders, the Obidient group – young generation people – who are interested in seeing Nigeria work. Meet with leaders who have different ideas that can midwife us into a greater height.

“All of these were the suggestions that he (Obi) made. And not only did he make those suggestions, he practicalised them because he met with the members of the National Assembly.

“He met with the leadership of the party recently in Asaba, trying to give them ideas on how he thinks certain things could be done and you could improve our situation.

“’If we can’t change them, we’ll leave,’ Peter Obi speaks on Labour Party crisis.’”

Tanko added, “But, of course, you know how politics is. Sometimes, people may be trying to encourage people, but they do something different.

“You can only take a horse to the river, but you cannot force it to drink water. So, that’s exactly what Peter Obi has done. He has done so greatly to see if we can find a solution to some of the problems we find ourselves in.”

He stressed that though Abure had the right to contest the national chairmanship position again, “it is only proper that the right things are done by opening the door for more people to be part of the process.”

Tanko said Abure went outside an initial agreement to have an all-inclusive national convention, which ought to start from the ward, local government and state levels before the national level.

The Obi-Datti spokesperson said the convention held in Nnewi, which returned Abure as the party’s leader, did not conform to that agreement and, therefore, was not acceptable to most people within the party.

When asked if the crisis in the party could be a problem for Obi in the next election, Tanko said Obi was a brand of his own, adding that he and other people would always move with him wherever he goes.

Meanwhile, Tanko berated Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to President Bola Tinubu, Bayo Onanuga, and advised him not rewrite history with his narrative that Obi introduced religion and ethnic politics during the 2023 elections.

Onanuga had while speaking on a television programme claimed that Obi was the first to introduce religion and ethnicity into presidential elections in Nigeria.

He had claimed, “What I know about the campaign of Obi was that for the first time in a very long while in our country, we had a candidate who was inflaming ethnic passions.

“And that was the way the election went at that time. He was inflaming ethnic passions, religious passions, bringing two dangerous things to our politics – ethnicity and religion. That is what he did. And those things were dangerous to our Nigerian politics.”

But in a statement, Tanko said Onanuga was trying to rewrite history by making false claims against Obi.

Tanko stated, “Mr. Onanuga must stop this insult on our collective intelligence. He, like his principal and the All Progressives Congress (APC), were the worst culprits, when it came to the issue of inflaming ethnic and religious passions.

“Was it Peter Obi that used ‘Emilokan, Yoruba lokan’ and Muslim/Muslim ticket as a battle cry for the elections? What is he talking about? Was it Peter Obi that organised attacks on innocent Nigerians, whose only offence was attempting to exercise their civil duties by voting for candidates of their choice in Lagos and elsewhere?

“Where was Onanuga when his principal, now President Bola Tinubu, instructed supporters in a widely circulated video to ‘grab, snatch and run’ with power? What was more inciting than that?

“I challenge Mr. Onanuga to come out with one shred of evidence to prove that Mr. Peter Obi did any such thing before, during and after the election. I think he lives in the illusion that Nigerians have forgotten so soon.”

Tanko also debunked Onanuga’s claim that Obi was working against Tinubu’s government.

He stated, “Mr. Obi has moved on since the election results were ‘grabbed, snatched and ran away with’. His focus in all his engagements in private and in public has always been that of nation-building.

“Mr. Obi will not shy away from playing his role as a leading opposition figure, when those who grabbed power are failing and forcing Nigerians to suffer unjustly.

“If Onanuga expects us to sing the praises of his principal for making Nigeria a living hell with galloping inflation, rising food prices and insecurity, I’m afraid, he’ll continue to be disappointed.”

Chuks Okocha

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