Ogar Osim, the Labour Party chairman in Cross River, says the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is plotting to hijack the party instead of mobilising workers to support it in the 2023 general elections.
Mr Osim revealed this at a news conference in Calabar while reacting to a vote of no confidence in him by the NLC and affiliate unions.
The NLC and the TUC had met earlier and produced a statement signed by the unions’ leaders Ben Ukpepi and Monday Ogbodum, dissociating themselves and passing a vote of no confidence in the Labour Party’s chairman in the state.
Speaking of the NLC, Mr Osim said, “They have their mandate which is to mobilise, even though anytime I meet with them, they claim they founded the party and must take over.”
He added, “In all the other states, the LP chairman goes round to tell the NLC what is expected of them but in Cross River, they want to dictate to the party what to do and even force candidates on the party. Candidates are processed by the party and not NLC.”
He pointed out that “it is unfortunate that in Cross River the NLC came together, collected money from some people and organised primaries without the presence of INEC and made them candidates of the party.”
He further explained that according to INEC’s regulation, houses of assembly primaries must be conducted at the headquarters, House of Representatives at the headquarters of the federal constituencies and Senate at the headquarters of the senatorial districts.
Mr Osim, accusing the NLC, said, “Some of the people they claim they elected are people who are still in other political parties and have not officially defected. An example is Mr Obono Obla, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Dr Teteh Bassey, a member of different political party and others.”
He insisted “these people have never approached the party to be candidates and are still bona fide members of their various political parties.”
He maintained that what the NLC leadership wanted was for him to sit with them to harmonise and possibly adopt their candidates.
Mr Osim added that the Labour Party wanted to contest and win in Cross River and would not give its governorship ticket and platform to a politician that could not win a council election.
He acknowledged that while the party still has the right of substitution in some positions, it would not ruin the Labour Party’s chances by fielding illegitimate candidates selected by the NLC without INEC’s presence.
The NLC on June 9 elected Earnest Jones as the Labour Party’s governorship candidate in the absence of the party’s chairman and INEC officials.