By Angela Atabo
Labour Party has decried the refusal of Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to recognise Dr Mike Omotosho as its National Chairman and urged the commission to do without further delay.
Forum of States’ Chairmen of the Labour Party made the call at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja at the end of a two-day meeting of the body.
Chairman of the group, Mr Joseph Ndirang, said that Omotosho emerged at a special convention of the party in October, 2017, replacing Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, who was removed over allegation of fraud.
He said INEC witnessed the convention but had refused to recognise and work with Omotosho as the chairman of the party.
Ndirang said that the situation had remained so in spite of the party’s representations, which culminated in a protest to INEC’s headquarters in Abuja in February.
According to him, INEC’s silence on the issue is undermining the party’s decision at the 2017 convention which brought in Omotosho.
He said that the party was surprised that till date, the commission was yet to recognise Omotosho.
“The meeting observed with dismay the inability of INEC, as the regulator of the activities of political parties, to fully comply and impartially implement the overflowing decision of the highest organ.
“The Labour Party’s convention unanimously removed the former chairman, Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, and elected Omotosho as the new Chairman of the party.
“The meeting noted that the convention that removed Abdulsalam from office was convened in line with the provisions of the party’s Constitution, Article 13c and in conformity with the requirements and guidelines of INEC.
“To that extent, there should not have been any reason why Abdulsalam’s name is still hoisted on INEC’s website after INEC supervised and monitored the constitutional process that duly removed him,” he said.
Ndirang added that for “avoidance of doubts, copies of the Nigeria Police report and the forensic audit report carried out on the party’s financial accounts that indicted Abdulsalam was made available’’.
He expressed the forum’s displeasure over the continuous illegal self-parade of Abdulsalam as national chairman of the party after the National Working Committee and the convention had removed him from office.
He said that this perpetuation of illegality had misled people into assuming that the party was in a kind of crisis, which was not true.
“The Chairmen’s forum re-affirms the outcome of the 2017 special convention and also demands that all relevant stakeholders respect and uphold the decisions of the party.
“The meeting demands that INEC recognizes and only deal, henceforth, with Omotosho as the duly elected National Chairman of the party,’’ the forum chairman said.
Ndirang said that the forum also rejected the clandestine move of a former governor to hijack the party through the back door, adding that the governor abandoned the party that made him.
He said that the chairmen also rejected every plan by detractors to drag the party into any unholy coalition for selfish interest.
He said that the party would continue to remain a solid political party with its socialist ideology for the betterment of the Nigerians.
When contacted, Director of Voter Education and Publicity at INEC, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said that he had no in-depth knowledge of the crisis in the party.
He promised to check and ascertain what the position of the commission was on the chairmanship issue.
When the leadership of the party protested to INEC in February, Assistant Director on Security, Mr Musa Sekpa, had assured that the issue would be looked into.