Ogar Osim, Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in Cross River is at war with the state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress over selection of candidates of the party for various positions in the 2023 general election.
Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union had in a statement signed by Mr Ben Ukpepi and Mr Monday Ogbodum, their respective chairmen as they passed a vote of no confidence on Osim over the selection of the candidates.
This however followed rejection of candidates elected at primaries conducted by NLC by the Labour Party Chairman.Recalling that NLC had on June 9 elected Mr Earnest Jones as the governorship candidate of LP in the absence of the party chairman and INEC officials.But Osim had rejected Jones and other candidates leading to the passage of vote of no confidence on him by NLC and the TUC leaders.
Osim gave a reaction to the vote of no confidence on Friday, telling the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state that its mandate was to mobilise workers to support the party in 2023 but not to select candidates for the party.
“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; it is the party that will tell you what to do and organise its primaries in the presence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which we have done.“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 said in a news conference at Calabar.
He also made a note that according to INEC’s regulation, state 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, but the NLC in the state gathered people in the NLC secretariat and did what it called primaries and some of the people they elected are members of other political parties.
“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“These people have never approached the party to be candidates and are still bona fide members of their various political parties,” he said.
He gave a maintenance that what the leadership of NLC in the state wanted was for him to sit with them to harmonise and possibly adopt their candidates.He said LP wanted to contest and win in Cross River and would not give its governorship ticket and platform to someone that cannot win a councillorship election.He added that while the LP still had the right of substitution in some positions, it would not destroy the chances in the state by fielding illegal candidates selected by the NLC without INEC’s presence.