THE Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has offended the democratic sensibilities of the Nigerian public when on Thursday, April 26, 2018, the commission made a most detestable ‘clarification’ recognizing a Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam as the “authentic” National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), a source close to the party, who craves anonymity, said.
The source added that the INEC claimed that its position was contained vide a letter, INEC/LEG/PP/14/T/7 dated April 10, 2018 in a response to complaint by a legal firm, Afolabi Fashanu & Co apparently drawing the attention of the Commission to the activities of Dr Mike Omotosho, who is parading himself as the National Chairman of the party. It added that since it has not replaced Abdulsalam in its website, he remains the recognized chairman of the party.
The source over the weekend opined that it is disheartening to the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) led by the authentic National Chairman, Dr. Mike Omotosho, that INEC will abandon its constitutional role in the polity and embark on inexplicable partisanship by siding with the former Chairman, Abulkadir Abdulsallam, a man who has been discredited and rejected by the legally constituted National Working Committee (NWC) of the party for fraudulent activities.
The source added: “To put the records straight, the Labour Party had in the build up to the 2015 elections, raked in a whopping N1,344,047,000 (N1.3 billion) from the sales of expression of interest forms and nomination forms to aspirants. But By December 2015, only N25, 000 was left in the party’s account as he (Abdulsalam) failed to give cogent explanation about expenditure of the party”.
He also indicated that the NWC, which felt dissatisfied with him suspended and finally removed him as the party’s national chairman following his refusal to appear before a disciplinary committee set up by the NWC of the party, with a view to investigate the fraud and embezzlement of over N1.3 billion party funds.
The source said further that the NWC, therefore, on October 3, 2017, in accordance with the provisions of the party constitution, convoked a special national convention in Abuja, adding that INEC was officially informed of the convention by the party’s leadership and it sent a monitoring team that included Mr. Shehu Wahab (DD), Mr. Oni Jerome Omowaye (AD), and Barrister Umar Akeje Esq. (PLO) to monitor the convention and submit a report on it.
According to the source: “During that special convention, Dr. Omotosho, was duly elected as the new national chairman of the Labour Party and given the mandate to lead a new National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. But it is disturbing that about seven months after a change of leadership was effected in the party, INEC has refused to update its records and website with the name of Omotosho, the new national chairman.
“Article 13(B) of the Constitution of the Labour Party, stipulates that the National Convention is the highest decision-making organ of the party”.
The source insisted that the Position of INEC in this saga forebodes threat to democracy as the commission has refused to obey the rule of law and dangerously playing into the hands of some vested interests to create a leadership crisis in order to hijack the party.
He therefore concluded therefore that INEC’s deliberate attempt to disregard the election of Omotosho and its obstinate refusal to ratify an election held by the National Convention of the party in the presence of INEC’s representatives’ smacks of illegality, which we believe is shrouded in treachery.
Speaking further, he said that with this misbegotten action, INEC has strengthened the resolve of Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam to continue to parade himself illegally as the national chairman of Labour Party, despite his removal and the election of an authentic chairman.
He equally warned INEC to “desist from this unscrupulous path in order not to truncate our democracy, which by the grace of God will next year celebrate its 20 -year lifespan.”