HomeNewsLabour Party Leader Faces Internal Revolt Amid Crisis

Labour Party Leader Faces Internal Revolt Amid Crisis

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The Labour Party (LP), one of Nigeria’s main opposition parties, is embroiled in a leadership crisis that threatens to undermine its chances in the upcoming 2024 general elections. The party’s leader and former presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has been accused of mismanaging party funds and sidelining other party officials. However, Obi has denied the allegations and received the backing of the party’s state chairmen, who have dismissed the claims as politically motivated.

The Allegations Against Obi

The LP’s national treasurer, who was suspended by the party’s national working committee (NWC) in December 2023, has alleged that Obi misappropriated N3.5 billion ($8.6 million) of party funds during the 2023 presidential campaign. She also claimed that Obi did not consult with other party leaders on key decisions and failed to account for the party’s income and expenditure.

The suspended treasurer has been joined by a group of dissident party members, who claim to be the authentic state chairmen of the LP. They have called for an independent audit of the party’s finances and demanded the resignation of Obi and the NWC. They have also threatened to take legal action against Obi and the NWC if they do not comply with their demands.

The Defence of Obi

Obi, who was the LP’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election, has refuted the allegations against him and accused the suspended treasurer and her allies of being sponsored by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said that the party’s finances were transparent and audited by an external auditor, and that he had the support of the majority of the party’s members and organs.

Obi also said that he had mediated privately on the matter and tried to resolve the crisis amicably, but that the dissident group was bent on destroying the party. He urged the party’s faithful to remain united and focused on the 2024 elections, where he hoped to challenge the incumbent president, Bola Tinubu, who won the 2023 election by a narrow margin.

The Solidarity of the State Chairmen

Obi’s position has been reinforced by the council of state chairmen of the LP, who paid a solidarity visit to the party’s national headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday. The council, which comprises the 36 state chairmen and the FCT chairman of the party, expressed their confidence in Obi’s leadership and the NWC led by Julius Abure.

The council’s chairman, Ceekay Igara, said that the party only realized N1.3 billion ($3.2 million) during the 2023 election and another N700 million ($1.7 million) from donations, which were used by the presidential campaign council. He said that all the money was lodged in the banks and receipted, and that the audit report was clear about the party’s finances.

Igara also said that the suspended treasurer was lying about being prevented from performing her duties, as she was the one who signed most of the cheques and attended to the state chairmen. He said that she may have been influenced to lie against Obi and the NWC.

The Way Forward for the Party

The LP’s crisis is not insurmountable, but it requires a sincere and genuine dialogue among the party’s stakeholders, and a commitment to the party’s constitution and democratic principles.

The party’s leaders and members should put the interest of the party and the nation above their personal ambitions and grievances, and work together to resolve the crisis amicably.

The party should also leverage its strengths, such as its grassroots appeal, its progressive ideology, and its charismatic leader, to rebrand and reposition itself as a viable alternative to the APC and the PDP. 

The LP has the potential to be a force for good in Nigeria’s politics, but it needs to overcome its crisis and unite for a common purpose. The party’s motto is “Forward Ever, Backward Never”, and it should live up to it.

Source: Vanguard 

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