No valid convention took place, says Abdulsalam
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The crisis bedeviling the leadership of Labour Party (LP) on Tuesday took a new dimension as one of the factions convened a special convention where it removed the national chairman, Alhaji Abulkadir Abdulsalam, and replaced him with Mr. Tayo Omotosho.
However, the embattled national chairman, has dismissed the move describing it as a non issue, adding that the group came with thugs and forcibly gained entry into the office.
â€œThey are miscreants who wanted to create confusion in the party. I as the chairman did not convene any meeting or convention and no one else is mandated by our constitution to convene a convention,â€ he said.
While chronicling the many â€˜sinsâ€™ of the ousted party chairman, the partyâ€™s National Vice Chairman (South) and Convention Chairman, Calistus Okafor who presided over the convention, said the former chairman had contravened various sections of the constitution, embezzled party finances and arrogated undue powers to the office of the chairman, as well as forgery.
Okafor in his opening remarks at the convention, also lamented that the party under its former Chairman, Alhaji Salam, never held party meetings to agree on the way forward but rather enjoyed administering the party through executive fiat, a situation he said made other NWC members uncomfortable.
Okafor said: â€œSince 2015, Labour Party has never held meetings, even towns and associations hold meetings regularly. I usually feel ashamed when I watch TV and see the PDP, APC and other parties convening and holding meetings and we have nothing to show.
â€œLabour Party is supposed to be the mouthpiece of the people in a period when the ruling APC is having crisis of all sorts, PDP is having one corruption case or the other. The leadership has however rendered our party useless.
â€œIn the build up to the 2015 general election, the party generated a whopping sum of N1,344,047,000 all from the sales of expression of interest forms, nomination form and waivers to aspirants,â€ the aggrieved party leaders revealed.
The stakeholders also alleged that majority of party secretariat staff no longer come to work because they were owed about eight months salary arrears, among other liabilities.
Drama however, ensued when the delegates in their hundreds led by the new factional chairman matched to the partyâ€™s national secretariat at Garki II and forced the ousted chairman (Abdulsalam) to leave the building.
Later, the new chairman accompanied by supporters addressed journalists at the partyâ€™s national secretariat saying that he has formally taken over the reigns of office.
The new National Chairman, Tayo Omotosho, who is a former Abuja Rotary Club Governor, assured the supporters of a new beginning in the Labour Party.
He also promised to bring back all the aggrieved members who had left the party due to the inefficient leadership style of the former national chairman.