July 21, 2024

Olumide Akpata Reports LP to INEC, Accuse Party of Trying to Handpick Guber Candidate


Akpata, worried!

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One of the governorship aspirants in Edo State on the platform of Labour Party, LP, Mr. Olumide Akpata, has raised an alarm about the lack of preparedness by the party.

The former Nigeria Bar Association president raised the concern last Sunday February 18, via a letter he addressed to the Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Apkata complained about “lack of preparedness and transparency” regarding the party’s primary election. He said that the party is yet to elect ward-level delegates who would vote in the primary election.

Apkata’s letter

“As of today, Sunday, 18 February 2024, less than 48 hours to the LP ward congresses and about 96 hours to the LP gubernatorial primaries, I am constrained to inform you that the Labour Party has exhibited little or no preparedness for the said ward congresses scheduled for 20 February, 2024, to elect delegates who will vote in the primaries slated for February 23, 2024, which, by the way, is the last possible day for political parties to conduct primaries before the INEC mandated date of February 24, 2024, for all political parties to upload names of gubernatorial candidates who emerged from party primaries,” Mr Akpata said.

He also informed Mahmood that the lack of information and transparency around the primary election process had raised serious doubts about the Labour Party’s commitment to conducting fair, credible, and democratic primaries to select a gubernatorial candidate.

He added that many aspirants, himself included, observed the noticeable absence of transparency in the process, resulting in numerous aspirants withdrawing from the race.

According to him, this exodus reflects not only a setback to the democratic process but also a loss of trust and confidence in the party’s leadership.

He stated that aspirants who had withdrawn from the process voiced concerns about its undemocratic nature.

He added that while some diplomatically cited “personal reasons” for withdrawing, others directly alleged that the party leadership intended to handpick the candidate.

He added, “The complete opacity around the party’s primaries preparations points to a lack of readiness to conduct any credible process that can stand legal scrutiny. Moreso, the reluctance to carry aspirants along fuels fears that the eventual primaries outcome may have been predetermined regardless of any phantom congress and the primaries conducted, to rubber stamp a fabricated result.

“For emphasis and to reiterate the point, the Labour Party’s ward congresses are an enormous logistical endeavour that needs to take place simultaneously across Edo State’s 192 political wards. Less than 48 hours before the said congresses, the party has demonstrated a troubling level of unpreparedness which suggests that they may be unaware of or underestimating the magnitude of the task at hand.’’

He further tasked INEC to prevail on the Labour Party to “come clean on preparations for its primaries in Edo State,” process of which includes “immediate communication of all venues for ward congresses holding on February 20th to INEC, aspirants and party members to guide the deployment of monitors, electoral officers and agents.

“Publication of a step-by-step process the party intends to adopt for congresses and primaries to guide aspirants and officials, release of the screened delegate list to promote transparency, identification of electoral officials to conduct the process, convening an urgent stakeholder meeting to brief aspirants as well as communicating logistics plans to INEC and aspirants,” Akpata stated.

Read Also: Edo Local Govt. Election was Mockery of Democracy – Abure, LP Chairman

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