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Convention: Lukman calls for background check on aspiring candidates

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***Attacks Buni, Bello

Former Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Salihu Moh Lukman, has called for a painstaking background checks on all the aspiring candidates contesting at the forthcoming national convention.

This is as the former PGF boss attacked governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and his counterpart in Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, saying both governors should not be examples of what should emerge as leaders in the forthcoming national convention and as candidates in 2023.

Lukman said the quality of party leaders will substantially determine the quality of candidates the party will present for elections in 2023.

In a statement Lukman released Monday in Abuja, said starting with the March 26, 2022 APC National Convention, APC leaders, especially Governors should demonstrate stronger commitment towards recruiting tested and trustworthy leaders.

On governor Buni, the statement said: “How the party treat allegations of corruption against the leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala will substantially determine the nature of new leaders to emerge. Many of the allegations against His Excellency Mai Mala are already public knowledge in the media. From Anambra to Ekiti and Osun primary, there are allegations against about extorting money from aspiring party leaders for Governorship.

“We must appeal to all APC leaders, especially Governors, to recognise that the weight of political responsibility of producing new leaders for the APC is in fact a very strong test of whether the party can continue to justifiably earn the confidence of Nigerians.

“Will leaders, especially Governors, undertake the crucial task of performing background checks for aspiring candidates and dispassionately, even if painfully, select both party leaders and party candidates for elections, beyond issues of loyalty? The crucial task before APC leaders is to ensure that leadership selection process produce trustworthy leaders both as party leaders and as candidates for elections.

“Once party leaders make the mistake of producing Bureau De Change managers as APC leaders during the March 26, 2022 National Convention, the probability will be very high that there will be many bad eggs emerging as standard bearers of the party for the 2023 elections. Already PDP leaders have dug their political grave when for instance they elected people who shared $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement to fight insecurity as National leaders of the PDP.”

On governor Yahaya Bello, Lukman said: “Beyond the new APC leaders to emerge from the March 26 National Convention, how is the APC going to take steps to block bad leaders such as His Excellency Yahaya Bello from emerging as standard bearers of the party for 2023 elections. The case of His Excellency Yahaya Bello requires some bold decisions by the APC as a party, which should include acknowledging that his actions as Kogi Governor contradicts the commitment of the party for good governance as represented by the provisions of the APC constitution and manifesto.”

According to Lukman, opposition PDP leaders continue to arrogantly and contemptuously ignore this foundational reality of public trust in politics. This is among many other factors why the PDP is still very unpopular among Nigerians. APC must fundamentally take every step necessary to produce new orientation for political leadership recruitment in the country as we approach the 2023 elections.

He said: “As much as possible, situations whereby good leaders only emerge ‘accidentally’ must begin to be reversed in Nigeria based on carefully planned initiatives under the APC. As part of the process of planning for the emergence of trustworthy leaders’ issues of getting current leaders to account for their actions or inactions will be necessary.

“APC, as a party, need to also take a special interest in what is going on in Kogi State. It is embarrassing that a government produced by the party will demonstrate that level of rascality. If PDP can tolerate such public rascality as was the case under for instance the inglorious era of Ayodele Fayose in Ekiti and many other PDP state governments across the country, APC must decisively disown what is coming out of Kogi State under Governor Yahaya Bello.

“If necessary, APC should declare opposition to what is emerging as the governance credentials of Governor Yahaya Bello, including taking every necessary step to save the people of Kogi State from the influence of Yahaya Bello in determining who succeeds him.

“Every step must be taken to ensure that APC emerges as a distinctively different party from PDP and other parties especially on the question of leadership recruitment. While in the case of PDP and other parties, issues of leadership recruitment are considered as given based on the received wisdoms of political leaders, in APC these issues are being debated and contested, which explains all the dynamics around the March 26, 2022 APC National Convention.

“If anything, the contest for the emergence of trustworthy political leaders in APC is a contest for the unfettered development of Nigerian democracy.

Nigerian democracy cannot develop unless the right conditions within parties are created for the emergence of trustworthy leaders both as party leaders and candidates for election.”

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Discordant tunes as Obi/LP clash over purported endorsement of Abure

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***Obi says he did not endorse any leadership, as LP counters him

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party(LP) in the 2023 General election Peter Obi may be embarking on a collision course with the party over his motif for the visit to the secretariat of the party on Tuesday along with his supporters.

Apparently piqued by how his visit was portrayed to be an endorsement of the Julius Abure-led leadership, Obi on Wednesday morning clarified that his visit to the Party’s secretariat on Tuesday was not to endorse the leadership but to engender reconciliation.
A statement by Peter Obi Media Relations (POMR) spokesperson Dr Yunusa Tanko indicated that the visit was more of reconciliation not an endorsement of any leadership as it was being portrayed.
In a swift reaction, the LP national publicity Secretary Obiorah Ifoh in a counter statement described Obi’s new statement as a twist of the well intentioned visit of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate to the leadership of the party.
He said Obi and Abure are on the same page over reconciliation in LP as he warned against any attempt to twist well intentioned visit.
Obi’s spokesperson statement reads,
“Obi’s visit to Labour Party yesterday was not to endorse anybody, but occassioned by his reconcilliatory move. Julius Abure in his speech stated clearly how Obi came to the office, and Obi in his speech clarified same, while preaching peace, and his mantra ‘pursuit of better Nigeria for the poor’

“Leadership of NLC/TUC Political Arm Commorades Titus Amba and Chris Uyot who were informed of Obi travelling out today, hence will honour thier invitation, also met with him, and extensively discussed same peace move with them.

“Obi had repeatedly maintained that his interest was to carry everybody along into one strong family, and not to support one against the other.

“In all his meetings with with all stakeholders, he has always maintained peace, and urge not to lose purpose which is to free Nigeria suffering and pain.

“The LP standards bearer plans to continue meeting with critical stakeholders, and groups to achieve all-inclusive political family with a common dream of rescuing Nigeria.

Ifoh statement reads,

“The attention of the leadership of the Labour Party has been called to a statement issued by the spokesperson to our National Leader, Peter Obi titled, ‘Obi visits to LP, Reconciliatory, not endorsement…’ Dr. Tanko Yinusa wherein he tried to twist the well intentioned visit of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate on the leadership of the party.

“As a party we are pleased that our leader has chosen to reconcile all aggrieved members and stakeholders of the party. “This noble step taken by Mr. Obi is in line with the call made by the Labour Party’s National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure during his maiden press conference last week titled ‘Triumphant Resumption of Abure led NWC’ wherein he pleaded with all the warring parties including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to sheath their swords and join in the rebuilding process in the party.

“Peter Obi’s visit and speech on Tuesday during the FCT solidarity rally has been variedly described in some quarters as an endorsement on the Abure leadership being his very first visit after the successful National Convention of the party held in March. But to us as a party we cherish this visit on whatever nomenclature as a positive wind blowing on the party.
“We believe that very soon, the reconciliatory efforts will be consummated and metamorphose into a political force that will usher in a government that will liberate Nigerians from the shackles of maladministration we are presently facing in the country.

“Finally, we urge the NLC and its Political Commission to understand that we are not the foe, and to see us as an ally in the battle to rescue Nigeria.
“They should emulate the Trade Union Congress, (TUC) which has shown greater understanding and willingness to partner with the Labour Party in our efforts to make a new Nigeria possible.”

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Okonkwo accuses Abure-led LP of being equally yoked by corruption as APC

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***Says he is suspending his association with the party

Nollywood actor turned politician, Kenneth Okonkwo, has alleged that the national convention organized by Julius Abure which returned him as Labour Party (LP) national chairman is nothing but criminality and corruption.

He stated this when he announced he was suspending his relationship with the Julius Abure-led National Working Committee of the LP.

According him, a new Nigeria is the priority, adding that he prefers to lose doing the right thing than win doing the wrong thing.

Okonkwo, who was the spokesperson for the Labour Party Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council in the 2023 election, in a post via his verified X account on Tuesday, said the current Abure-led National Working Committee of the Labour Party is another incompetent and corrupt association, just like the All Progressives Congress (APC) he left before.

The post reads: “I am suspending my relationship in all ramifications with the purported Abure-led National Working Committee of Labour Party.

For me, it’s either a new Nigeria or nothing. I prefer to lose doing the right thing than winning doing the wrong thing.

Nothing can wash out the criminality, corruption, and incompetence with which the purported National Convention was purportedly organised by Abure.

I did not leave the comfort of a ruling party APC because I believe that they are incompetent and dishonest only to come and join another incompetent and corrupt association, which is the current Abure led National Working Committee of Labour Party.”

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Obi, Otti, LP Lawmakers to storm Akure for Ondo guber election campaigns

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***Party Receives Boost From Aggrieved Aspirants from APC and PDP

The Chairman of Labour Party (LP) Governorship Primaries in Ondo State, Mr Olusola Ayodele has declared the resolve of Party to take back Ondo State in the forthcoming coming Governorship elections of the state billed for November 2024 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC)
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, quoted Olusola Ayodele to have made the declaration when he Addressed the Southwest Leadership of the Party on Friday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

Ayodele who conducted the Ondo State Governorship Primaries of the LP in Akure a fortnight earlier stated that all preparations by the Leadership of the party to win the Ondo Governorship elections have been concluded with the formation of a proposed Southwest Task Force on the Ondo Governorship elections .

According to him, the Task Force being put together comprises key leaders of the party in the Southwest, who have been charged to mobilise a high-powered National Campaign Team of the Party for the Governorship elections to reenact the LP – Mimiko victory and 8 years good governance of Ondo State

He said, “To lead the Ondo National campaign committee is Mr Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party and Mr Alex Oti, Governor of Abia State. They are to be supported by all LP Senators, Reps Members, State Lawmakers and other key leaders of the Party in the country with formidable solidarity from key members of the Obidient Movement in diaspora.”

While clarifying the rumour about the possibility of the party conducting a substitution primaries for the Governorship candidacy of the party, Ayodele said “this would only happen, if the current governorship candidate of the party decides to withdraw from the race during the substitution window created by INEC and if the National Working Committee, NWC of the Party also finds governorship aspirants who have the required competence and capacity as possible replacement to fly the governorship ticket of a mega party like the Labour Party, especially, a party which has ruled Ondo State for 8 years before”

Ayodele said although some aggrieved frontline governorship aspirants, especially from the APC and PDP are already discussing the possibility of crossing to Labour Party with the Committee, it is only the National Working Committee of the Party that can sanction such discussion before the close of the substitution window of INEC. He however applauded the youths, students and the masses of the people in Ondo State for remaining steadfast with the Party.

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