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Labour Party Reacts To Embezzlement Claim Against Party Chairman By Treasurer

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The Labour Party has denied allegations of corruption and abuse of office levelled against its National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure, by outgoing National Treasurer Ms. Oluchi Opara.

In a statement signed by National Publicity Secretary Obiora Ifoh, the party dismissed Ms. Opara’s claims as “concocted” and motivated by “external influences.”

The statement reads in part: “With the exception of the National Treasurer whose tenure is about to end in few weeks time, and who has served for 8 years as National Treasurer without a single record of party accounts, no other member of the national working committee has raised any issue of embezzlement against out National Chairman who made a pledge on assumption that the party has to be revamped. Evidence is our proactive outing in the 2023 general election as the party presented for the first time a very good presidential candidate.

“Let it be said that the Labour Party has not earned N3.5 billion as claimed and that the National Chairman has not embezzled any money that belongs to the party as alleged. The records are there, except that Ms Oluchi Opara don’t even understand simple accounting even as a treasurer. An External Auditor is engaged by the party and our account is under constant scrutiny of INEC or other regulatory bodies.

“Abure does not own several houses and property as spuriously alleged by our estranged National Treasurer, even though no law prohibits him from owning properties.”

“The constitution of the Labour Party in Article 14:1b provides that the National Chairman shall be the Accounting Officer of the party while 14:1d “Shall approve all expenditures and shall be a signatory to the Party’s Bank account(s)”

‘Accordingly, Article 14: 6 states that the National Treasurer “Shall receive and promptly pay into the Party’s account(s), all monies received for and on behalf of the Party.

“Shall ensure the preparation of Annual Statement of Account/Reports on finances of the Party including compilation of the Party’s Assets and liabilities and make same available to the National Executive Council from time to time. Shall be a co-signatory to the Party Account(s).”

“These sections are clear as to the duty of the national chairman apart from providing leadership. The duty of the National Treasurer is also clearly spelt out.

“In the past, the party didn’t have accounting books or method as it was ran by the then chairman and Ms Oluchi the Treasurer. They were only accountable to themselves, but with the emergence of the Abure led executive, and the growth of the party, it became imperative for the party to structure its accounting method and policy. This of course didn’t go down well with the National Treasurer whose financial source was shut down.

“The party can understanding her vituperation but we can’t help her situation moreso when her time in the NWC is running out. Her wish to cash out was not granted and her subtile effort to push the leadership to ‘settle’ her was rejected hence her resolve to fight dirty.

“It will be recalled that she is alone on this battle. Several stakeholders have had course to prevail on her to bridle her inordinate ambition but all to no avail. We are surprised that despite all effort to assure her of a future, she still went ahead to align with our detractors and sworn enemies of the party.

“The party will definitely take her case to the disciplinary committee where appropriate measure will be taken.”

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Edo Guber: APC Crisis Deepens As Idahosa Writes INEC, Demands Recognition As Candidate

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The crisis birthed by the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State has taken a new dimension as an aspirant in the election, Hon Dennis Idahosa has written to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), requesting the election umpire not to receive any other name as the candidate of the party apart from him.

In a letter written by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), marked: WOC/ABJ/VOL.01/074/2024, dated, March 4th, 2024 and addressed to Mahmud Yakubu, Idahosa said a legal action with Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/274/2024 between himself vs Sen. Monday Okpebholo, the APC and the INEC had already been instituted.

In the letter addressed to the INEC chairman, the House of Representatives member and aspirant in the governorship primary is claiming the candidacy of the party.

Idahosa who urged INEC to take cognizance of the suit, insisted that he won the February 17 2024 exercise monitored by the INEC where he was declared winner.

He added that there was no basis for the supplementary election ordered by the leadership of the party as no reason was given for the decision.

He also argued that the 20th February was not a standalone election but a continuation of the February 17th exercise and so the results of the 17th exercise cannot be jettisoned.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Edo Poll: Ex-Labour Party Guber Aspirant Resigns From Party

He said: “The record of INEC/the Commission will show that, under your leadership, the Commission monitored the Edo State APC primary election for the nomination of the Governorship candidate of the APC pursuant to the prior notification that the primary election will specifically hold on 17th February, 2024.

“The primary election was indeed held, and our client garnered 40,453 votes (a copy of the result certified by INEC is attached herein as Annexure 1).

“INEC’s report of monitoring the election confirms that, at the end of the process, our client was returned as the duly elected candidate of the APC (a copy of the INEC report as certified by the Commission is attached as Annexure 2).

“The APC primary election committee that conducted the election also confirmed that our client won the election as evidenced by a report signed by all members of the committee (without a single instance of dissent).

READ ALSO: Primary: Four Edo APC Governorship Aspirants Reject Uzodimma

“Our client is aware that the APC subsequently confirmed to INEC that the primary election held as scheduled on 17th February, 2024; however, without giving any reason, indicated that the election was inconclusive and will be completed on 22nd February, 2024 and invited INEC to monitor the completion exercise.

“At the end and in respect of the completion exercise, Sen. Monday Okpebholo was said to have scored 12, 433 votes whilst our client was allocated 6,541 votes. Sen. Monday Okpebholo scored 100 votes at the primary election of 17th February, 2024 (a copy of the result sheet from the completion primary election on 22nd February, 2024 certified by INEC is attached as Annexure 3).

“Our client disagrees that the primary election of 17th February, 2024 was inconclusive or that there was any basis to schedule what was described as a completion of the process. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/ 274/2024 has been instituted to ventilate that challenge.

“As things stand, INEC is in custody of two results for the APC primary election for the 2024 Governorship election in Edo State (one dated 17th February, 2024, and the other dated 23rd February, 2024).

READ ALSO: Edo APC Gov Candidate Gets Party’s Certificate Of Return

“The summation of the votes in both results demonstrates clearly that our client won the primary election even if his votes from the 17th February, 2024 results are the only ones reckoned with.

“Put differently, an addition of the votes of all the other aspirants from both results will neither match nor supersede our client’s votes from 17th February, 2024.At best (assuming it is valid), the completion primary election of 22nd February, 2024 was a supplementary election.

“Fortunately, the Commission under your leadership has had cause to conduct supplementary elections including the 2018 governorship election in Osun State where a winner was declared by INEC upon a summation of the votes from the main and supplementary election.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Edo APC Primary: Protest Rocks Party Secretariat In Benin

“The decision of the Commission to make a return incorporating both balloting exercises (since they were part of the same process) was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Adeleke v. Oyetola (2020) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1721) 440 at 555. Prior to the Osun scenario, INEC had also declared the 2016 governorship election in Kogi State inconclusive and conducted a supplementary election.

“The Commission declared a winner upon the summation of the votes from both balloting exercises and the correctness of the same was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Faleke v. INEC (2016) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1543) 61 at 121.

“The representation by APC to INEC that the process of 22nd February,2024,was a completion acknowledges that it is not a standalone and indeed has its foundation in the election of 17th February, 2024.

“In the prevailing circumstances, it has thus become compelling that the Commission maintains fidelity with its earlier referenced precedents in Kogi and Osun States and takes full cognizance of the results from the 17th February, 2024 primary election in accepting and subsequently publishing the nomination of APC’s candidate.

“The Commission will also appreciate that there are pending reliefs for injunction in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/274/2024 and are urged not to take any step that will either pre-empt the court or prejudice the ongoing judicial process.”

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Benue APC Crisis Deepens As Police Teargas Anti-Austin Agada Group

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There seems to be no end in sight for the intra-party crisis rocking the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as policemen on Friday fired tear gas at anti-Austin Agada group who attacked the state’s party chairman while attempting to access the state secretariat of the APC in Makurdi.

The incident followed a letter written by the Chief of Staff to Governor Hyacinth Alia, conveying the governor’s instructions to the Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Adesina, banning all political activities in the state indefinitely, allegedly over the insecurity occasioned by the influx of herders into the state.

“I write to inform you that His Excellency Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alla has banned all political gatherings in any form, be it inter or intra party or groups in Benue State till further notice,” the letter dated February 27, 2024 read.

“This has become necessary following Intelligence on the volatility of the security atmosphere in the state.

“It is certainly not news to you how the security atmosphere in the state has charged following the unprecedented influx of armed herdsmen in the state. You are by this notification invited to enforce this directive.”

Thereafter the police directed the state chapter of the APC group led by Agada not to hold its planned state executive committee meeting with some key party officials.

Despite the directive, the Agada group believed to be loyal to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, went ahead with the meeting but supporters of Governor Alia moved to the area to block the road leading to the venue.

But pandemonium broke out as Agada arrived at the party secretariat, with the anti-Agada supporters descending on him, prompting the police to shoot into the air and fire tear gas at the crowd to disperse them.

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After APC Edo abracadabra primary: Senator Osunbor speaks, asks his teeming supporters to remain steadfast

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…says Okpebholo has approached me for support

After the All Progressives Congress APC dislocated primary, topmost aspirant, Senator Prof Oserheimen Osunbor on Friday has advised his teeming supporters to remain steadfast for further instructions.

In a message of solidarity to his supporters which he personally signed, Osunbor noted that it’s glaring that:”the National Working Committee of our party that conducted the primaries is satisfied with the outcome and has issued a Certificate of Return to Senator Monday Okpebholo as the party candidate. This is already public knowledge.

“The Senator has paid me a visit to solicit my support and those of my teeming followers. That initial visit, it was agreed, will be followed soon by more detailed discussions. Be rest assured that you will be carried along as the talks progress. The outcome of the discussions will influence our collective decision and next line of action.

Read full message below:

EDO 2024: A MESSAGE TO MY SUPPORTERS AND WELL-WISHERS

Ladies and Gentlemen,

“The events connected with the process, conduct and outcome of the APC governorship primary election in Edo State in the past fortnight or so have, no doubt, left many of you bewildered, disappointed and confused. As you are aware, I issued statements to express my personal displeasure about what we saw which fell very much below our expectations. Many of you have reached out to me to seek direction as to our next line of action.

“It is now clear that the National Working Committee of our party that conducted the primaries is satisfied with the outcome and has issued a Certificate of Return to Senator Monday Okpebholo as the party candidate. This is already public knowledge.

“The Senator has paid me a visit to solicit my support and those of my teeming followers. That initial visit, it was agreed, will be followed soon by more detailed discussions. Be rest assured that you will be carried along as the talks progress. The outcome of the discussions will influence our collective decision and next line of action.

“Let me use this opportunity, once again, to thank you all for your forbearance, steadfastness and unwavering support through the months and years that we worked together to bring about the Rebirth of EDO FOR EXCELLENCE. May God richly bless you for your sacrifices. (more…)

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