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The looming crisis in the Labour Party (LP), which has led to the split in loyalty between supporters of embattled National Chairman, Julius Abure and acting National Chairman, Lamido Apapa, took a toll in Imo State as two candidates emerged at the weekend in parallel primaries to fly the party’s flag in the 11th November governorship election.
On Saturday, the primary conducted by the Abure-led faction produced Senator Athan Achonu as winner, having polled 134 votes to defeat his closest rival, Lincoln Ugunewe who got 125 votes.
In another primary, yesterday, by the Apapa-led faction, Ikechukwu Ukaegbu emerged winner in an affirmative election where one of the aspirants, Ihechi Ike stepped down for him.
National Vice chairman of the party, North East, Mohammed Ibrahim Alkali who represented Apapa in yesterday’s primary, announced Ukaegbu winner and handed the party flag to him saying the election followed due process.
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Also, the National Youth leader of the party, Anselem Iragbe, addressed journalists after the primary and affirmed it met all legal requirements.
Iragbe said the Abure-led faction that conducted the Saturday primary erred on the side of the law and that the primary of yesterday was “the authentic governorship primary of the party.’
He said: ‘An FCT High Court issued a restraining order on April 4 on Julius Aburi, the National Chairman, his Treasurer, and Organising Secretary, as a result of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on forensic report that indicted them on perjury and criminal conspiracy. They were asked to stop parading themselves as officials of Labour party. This means from the 5th of April they are no longer officials of the party, so whatever took place yesterday as an election does not stand according to the face of the law.’
The primary of the Aburi-led faction on Saturday where Senator Achonu emerged as winner had as returning officer, Dr.Alex Otti, Abia State Governor-elect.
Other contestants were Martins Agbaso who got 13 votes; David Mbamara, five votes, Charles Agomuo, one vote; Kelechi Nwagwu, nine votes, and Chinedu Amadi, four votes.