NLC Backs Peter Obi as Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate
* Disowns factional candidate
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Organised labour under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has thrown its weight behind the emergence of former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, as the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in next year’s general election.
Against the background of the emergence of a splinter group laying claim to both the leadership of the party and its presidential ticket, NLC said that both NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) recognize the leadership of the Labour Party led by Julius Abure, a former trade union leader.
In a statement signed by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the Congress said that Labour Party “is creation and offspring of the Nigeria Labour Congress”, adding that workers are part of the leadership of the party.
Wabba said that NLC and TUC recognise only one presidential primary, which was held in Asaba, Delta State on May 30, 2022 and produced Obi as its presidential candidate.
In the statement NLC said: “It has been brought to our attention that a so-called faction of the Labour Party recently conducted what we can describe as a ‘beer parlour’ presidential primary and supposedly elected a presidential candidate. Nothing can be more spurious, hilarious and ridiculous.
“There is only one Labour Party in Nigeria. For the purpose of public education and clarity, we will take a recourse to history. The Labour Party is the creation and offspring of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).”
NLC said the decision to give birth to the Labour Party was taken by its statutory organs and affirmed by the decision of the National Executive Council of Congress at its meeting in Bauchi in 2003 when it approved the formation of the Party for Social Democracy (PSD).
While tracing the origin of Labour Party, Wabba said that it was at the inaugural convention of PSD in 2004 that NLC decided to change the name of PSD to the Labour Party.
Wabba said that Labour Party may have gone through challenges but the ownership of the party by the NLC and TUC has never been in doubt.
“As a matter of fact, the original certificate of the registration of the Labour Party is domiciled in the national headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress. Also, a Federal High Court judgment by Justice G.O. Kolawole in March 2018 clearly establishes that Labour Party belongs to workers.
“The point is that the Labour Party is what the NLC and TUC say it is. The leadership of the NLC and TUC recognize the leadership of the Labour Party led by Julius Abure, a former trade union leader and workers are part of the leadership. “The NLC and TUC are aware of only one presidential primary which was held in Asaba, Delta State on 30th May 2022 and produced Peter Obi as its presidential candidate and standard bearer,” he said.
In the statement, NLC said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) monitored the presidential primary that produced Peter Obi.
It also said INEC recognises only the Labour Party leadership led by the Chairman, Julius Abure, and the National Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Umaru Ibrahim.
“They are the only Labour Party officials whose details are provided on INEC website.
“The leadership of the NLC and TUC gave our full support to the processes that produced Peter Obi as the presidential candidate of the Labour Party. Nigerians especially workers, youths and women attended the presidential primary of the Labour Party in their thousands and were thoroughly satisfied with the outcome of the same,” said Wabba.
NLC described the emergence of a factional group led by Calistus Okafor as a fruitless effort to distract the Labour Party from ongoing mass mobilization efforts for sweeping electoral victory in the 2023 general election.
It urged workers, youths, women, traders, farmers, professionals and all who seek the survival of Nigeria to continue to register for their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and to safeguard their PVC.
“We understand that with the current repositioning of the Labour Party as the party for workers, youths, students, women, traders, farmers, professionals, physically disabled persons, the unemployed and the downtrodden, the Labour Party has become the albatross of establishment political parties who have suddenly become jittery and are devising all forms of conspiracy theories and subterfuge to distract the Labour Party from ongoing mass mobilization efforts for sweeping electoral victory in the 2023 general election.
“The recruitment of one Calistus Okafor, a mischievous petty trader, to advance their evil plot of distraction is a new low and should be disregarded by the public.
“This, therefore, serves as a public disclaimer on Mr. Calistus Okafor. We warn the general public to steer clear of Calistus Okafor and characters who might want to cash in on the popularity of the Labour Party to hoodwink, extort and swindle unsuspecting members of the public.
“We, hereby, direct Nigerian workers and all the structures of the NLC and TUC to completely disregard the impersonation by Calistus Okafor who has no locus standi to speak for Labour Party.
“Workers and millions of members of Labour Party who desire a new Nigeria should regard tantrums by characters like Calistus Okafor as a mere storm in a tea cup.
“Truth is that the bull has already left the barn! Nigerian workers, youths, students, women, professionals, the disabled and the unemployed have embraced the Labour Party as the political vehicle of the downtrodden, the political alternative and a voice for the re-start of a genuine journey of national development.
“There is no amount of political devilry that can stop us! Forward ever!! Backward Never,” it said.