Saturday, 10th June 2023

Crisis rocks Lagos LP over governorship candidate

By Kehinde Olatunji
26 August 2022   |   2:38 am
Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, yesterday, approached the Federal High Court to restrain the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission..

Labour Party

Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, yesterday, approached the Federal High Court to restrain the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour as the standard-bearer.

A faction of the party in the state, headed by Kayode Salako, had insisted that Awamaridi was a placeholder and conducted a substitution primary, which witnessed Vivour’s emergence as gubernatorial candidate even though he allegedly joined the party last month.

But Awamaridi, who was not present at the primary, insisted that he was never a placeholder but the authentic candidate of the party, vowing that he would not step down for anybody.

The plaintiff said he had deliberately decided to remain silent to recent developments in the party because he was the one duly recognised by INEC.

Awamaridi noted that he had decided to speak out because he cannot afford to be “complacent” after another aspirant had been declared a governorship candidate.

“He said the party works with “constitution and not the imaginations of (some) individuals,” adding he “came in through the congress” and is the authentic state chairman of the party.”

Awamaridi denied reports that he had been elevated to the national level of the party and the gubernatorial ticket handed over to Vivour. He stressed that nobody had contacted him on that.

He maintained that he remains the duly elected state chairman of the LP in Lagos State, whose tenure, he added, had not expired.

The applicant stressed that there must be documentation and letter if at all he had been unseated as chairman. He said the National Executive Council (NEC) had not met in the last two years to even take such purported decision, while imploring party members to maintain peace with a view to winning the 2023 poll.

Awamaridi continued: “Delegates elected me across the state, from the ward to the local government officers as LP gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State.”

“I was elected state chairman and my tenure has not expired. “Nobody can take over the party’s position from the backyard. The NEC meeting held about two years ago. You can’t come through the backyard and claim to own the party or be the gubernatorial candidate.

“We are going into elections, and we don’t want division in LP. The party is one in Lagos State.

“Also, INEC has released the particulars of governorship and House of Assembly candidates across the state. The names you will see there are all the candidates here and the governorship candidate that is there is Ifagbemi Awamaridi.”

Commenting on the development, the party’s state Publicity Secretary, Bunmi Odesanya, insisted that Awamaridi’s name was submitted to the electoral umpire as placeholder.

The spokesperson continued: “As a result of the above, the party, therefore, conducted her substitution governorship primary election on Wednesday, August 2, 2022 in Lagos, which produced Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour as the gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party in Lagos State.

“The substitution primary was conducted and observed by INEC and all necessary provisions/guidelines stipulated by the Electoral Act 2022 were duly adhered to.

“The party is fully aware of the guidelines for the withdrawal of candidates as stipulated by extant laws, and will, therefore, apply same in this present circumstances, as it concerns Prof. Ifagbemi and his purported LP governorship candidate in Lagos State.

“We do not want to join issues with him (Prof. Ifagbemi) as far as this matter and the distraction it portends is concerned. The party is right now focused on her preparation for the campaigns, which are about to commence in few weeks.”