Listen to article
Mr. Innocent Okeke who is the South-East Zonal Chairman of the Labour Party, LP, has debunked the viral insinuations that Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma influenced the outcome of the party’s primary election in the State.
Recall that Senator Athan Achonu had a fortnight ago emerged winner of the party’s primary election conducted by the Abia State Governor-elect, Alex Otti.
Meanwhile, there are claims flying on the social media space that Achonu is being sponsored by Governor Uzodinma.
But in a statement sent to The Eastern Updates on Tuesday morning, Okeke said there was no basis for anyone to hold such opinion.
He stated that the party conducted the freest, fairest and most credible primary election for the emergence of a candidate.
The exercise, according to him, “reaffirmed the genuine call for a paradigm shift in line with the new Nigerian mantra. Apart from having INEC staff to supervise the primary, security agents and observers were on ground to observe the entire exercise.
‘The winner of the election, Senator Athan Achonu did not spring a surprise as he was always among the top three of likely winner of the election.
‘At present, the party in Imo is concerned about building bridges and embarking on genuine reconciliation of every aggrieved member, bearing in mind that what is happening in the Labour Party is not peculiar to it. It is common with party administration in Nigeria.’
He urged every aggrieved aspirant “to apply caution and shun any form of blackmail against the party members as we recently saw in a trending voice message, purporting that our governorship candidate, Senator Athan Achonu has a deal with the incumbent governor to undermine the party’s expected victory in Imo which is not true.
‘The above assumption is not only laughable but exposes the desperation of the originator. We must embrace the spirit of sportsmanship. Let the defeated in a fair contest congratulate the winner and work for the party’s victory as we have over time witnessed in all the other states where Labour Party conducted her governorship primaries.
“Contrary to what naysayers are selling to the unsuspecting public, the election was done strictly in compliance with the delegates’ list as they emerged from their wards after a credible congress. As we know, each ward represents a community in the state. This simply means that 305 Imo state communities gathered at the Landmark Event Centre Owerri, on the 15th April, 2023, to elect the best candidate to fly the flag of Labour Party for the forth coming election. Each Community in the state was given an opportunity to contribute to who later became the standard bearer.
“As National Vice Chairman (South East) of our great party and a member of the Electoral Committee, I attest to the fact that every process taken to conduct the primary election was transparent and without bias. We understood that it was never going to be easy managing 16 aspirants in a single election, but we did it seamlessly to the applause of the contestants.
“Those trying to plant seed of discord in our party over the conduct of the primary election should have a rethink. They should rather explore avenues provided in the party’s constitution in seeking redress, not by mudslinging.
“The party and our candidate will accommodate everyone in the scheme of things.”
Okeke went further to express strong optimism that the LP would produce the next Imo governor.