Fresh trouble appears to be brewing within the Labour Party (LP) ahead of Saturday’s governorship election over who is the authentic governorship candidate of the party.
This is as a chieftain of the party, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, on Thursday insisted that he remains the party’s governorship candidate in Lagos state.
Addressing a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday, Awamaridi denied withdrawing from the race, indicating that the matter is still before the Supreme Court.
The development would cause fresh worries for Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who has been campaigning and gained publicity as the Lagos LP governorship candidate for Saturday’s election.
Speaking at the press conference, Arabambi insisted that he did not withdraw from the governorship race contrary to claims by some leaders of the party.
He claimed that he won the party’s governorship primary in July 2022.
“In July 2022, INEC published the name of the Labour party candidate and the name is Prof. Ifagbemi Awamaridi based on the fact that I won the primary,” he said.
“The party forwarded the name to INEC around July 5 and INEC published the name around July 25 and that name subsists.
“Later on, I discovered that the name has changed and some party leaders decided to organise a substitution primary and claimed that I have withdrawn.”
Awamaridi added that he had written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he had not withdrawn from the race, and is waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court in the matter.
However, the chairman of the Lagos LP, Dayo Ekong told members of the public to ignore Awamaridi as he is being used by the opposition to disrupt the party, insisting he is not the authentic candidate of the Labour Party.
In July 2022, INEC published the name of Ifagbemi Awamaridi as the LP governorship candidate for Lagos in the 2023 elections.
However, in August 2022, Bashiru Apapa, the LP deputy national chairman, told journalists that Awamaridi had written formally to withdraw from the race as he was just a “placeholder” for the party’s governorship candidate slot.
Apapa added that the party would organise a substitution primary.
But Awamaridi insisted that he had not withdrawn from the race and that he had sworn an affidavit of non-withdrawal before the federal high court in Abuja.
Notwithstanding, on August 10, 2022, the LP organised a substitution primary election in Ikeja, Lagos which produced Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who polled 111 votes.
A former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Moshood Salvador came second with 102 votes.
This article was originally published on Naija News
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Author: Oladipo Abiola