Peter Obi’s Labour Party has said it will challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to appoint an All Progressives Congress member as a Resident Electoral Commissioner.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Arambambi Oluwafemi stated this at a press briefing and reaffirmation of the Lagos governorship candidate of the LP, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on Tuesday.
He did not mention the name of the REC.
It was, however, earlier reported that a coalition of Civil Society Organisation had disclosed that four of the 19 REC nominated by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), “fell short of the threshold of partisanship and impeccable character.”
Among the four, the group named Prof. Muhammed Bashir (Sokoto REC) and claimed that he contested as a governorship aspirant of the APC in 2015. They also named Sylvia Agu (Enugu REC) as the sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, South East, Emma Enukwu.
While clarifying the lingering crisis between the former state Chairman of the party, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, and the party, the national publicity secretary also presented the new state executives of the party.
According to his statement, the Lagos State Labour Party is headed by the Chairman, Kayode Salako, six deputy chairpersons; Chief Seyi Sowunmi, Adeola Adebanjo, Lanre Adenuga, Tony Obi, Mr Ayinla and Olubunmi Odesanya, and the Secretary, Okpala Emeka.
While calling on Nigerians to vote for the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi, he challenged the APC, Arabambi, saying, “We have a Mr President appointing people of questionable character against section 156 Subsection 1b, that says, people that have questionable character should not be appointed.
“A president will now appoint a former governorship candidate of the APC as a REC. So they think they can rig the election. I am telling the APC, your national chairman, your presidential candidate, and even President Buhari, that you cannot rig this election.
“APC should be prepared to vacate offices when Nigerians change the tide of elections and vote massively for a candidate of their choice. We are not only warning the APC, we are still going to challenge that appointment in court. The APC made their people Resident Electoral Commissioners, it is not acceptable. We are all joint owners of the Nigerian project.”
When asked about the name of the party’s governorship candidate on the list of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Arabambi said that although the name of Awamaridi, who reportedly served as a placeholder governorship candidate, remained on the INEC list, the name of the governorship and house of representative members of the party would be changed by INEC in October in accordance with the substitution primaries won by Rhodes-Vivour.
Arambambi said, “Simply to put the records straight, Awamaridi was the Chairman of the LP of the Lagos caretaker committee at one point. He was made a placeholder for the governorship primary election, thus his name was submitted as the governorship candidate since Lagos LP was yet to conclude all the required processes.
“The placeholder status given to Awamaridi was one from which he formally tendered an official resignation. Awamaridi’s resignation was willfully, voluntarily and clearly signed and tendered. Of course, documents don’t lie.
“Meanwhile, it is not in doubt that if he, Awamaridi, by any stretch felt or feels aggrieved, he knows that the courts are open to seeking legal redress because his tenure has expired as the chairman of the caretaker committee. He added, “He will have to prove whether he committed perjury or we committed perjury.”
He added, “LP, officially, and very strongly, re-affirms with authority that the winner of the substitution election on the platform of the LP, as the governorship candidate for 2023 for Lagos State, is Gbadebo Rhodes-Viviour.”
After receiving the certificate of return of the governorship primary of the party, Rhodes-Vivour, in his speech, said, “It is time to move from a government of transformation by taxation to a government of transformation by genuine development.” He promised Lagos residents to deliver “Lagos that works for all.”
While alluding to the traffic congestion caused by the maintenance works at the Otedola area of the state, the governorship candidate lamented that the Lagos State Government under the APC had continued to frustrate its residents under the guise of developing the state.