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2023 elections: LP chieftains demand accountability on funds

By Austine Emmanuel, Kaduna

Chieftains of Labour Party, (LP) including aspirants and candidates that contested elections in Kaduna state, has called on leadership of the party to give account of funds received and spent during the 2023 general elections.

This is as the group said that its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi has given public account from his own end, meanwhile the party leadership did not deem it fit to give any public account, an act they said, does not translate to transparency, accountability and good governance.

Briefing Journalists in Kaduna at the weekend, the Senatorial candidate of LP, Zone One Kaduna, Mr. Sidi Bamali said that the essence is not only to propagate the party’s agenda, but to also bring to the fore some, if not all, of their grievances towards the leadership of the party both at the State and national level and proffer probable solutions to their challenges as an indivisible family.

Bamali further disclosed that Engineer Mike Auta, who was the party’s senatorial candidate for Southern Kaduna in 2023 has been so instrumental in the quest to breach peace among aggrieved members, stressing that his message of hope has kept them going with the belief that the party would takeoff soon and reach its height.

The Chieftains also accused Mr. Peter Obi and his vice presidential candidate, Datti Baba Ahmed of running their own personal ambition without minding the crisis rocking LP in Kaduna. They alleged that Obi on several occasions came to Kaduna but never thought it necessary to invite the leadership of the party and its esteemed supporters in the state for a round table meeting to sit and review their past activities especially those in the North West Zone.

Bamali said, “We thought it wise to hold this press briefing because there is a whole lot to be said. Its essence is not only to propagate the party’s agenda, but to also bring to the fore some, if not all, of our grievances towards the leadership of the party both at the State and national level and proffer probable solutions to these challenges.

“The aftermath of the 2023 general elections have given us reasons to ponder on some of the challenges encountered, lessons learnt and the probability of thinking ahead, in order to redefine our path to victory. Today, we are here to take a critical assessment of these problems and fashion out ways in which solutions would be proffered.

“Prior to the 2023 general elections, the LP was a stationary, rickety, disjointed vehicle that was lacking several essential parts. Its functionality and existence were questioned in the nation’s political arena, however, a few months to the election proper, some political juggernauts, well meaning individuals, and the common man, who were tired and frustrated by the misconceived idea of democracy injected life into the one immobile vehicle until it became a force to reckon with.

“The heavy wind of a change mantra blew across all zones, especially in Kaduna and people joined in the struggle to propagate a change in leadership. This movement may not have produced the desired results and our expectations were dashed, but we fought a good fight.

“It is on record that both local and international observers had their misgivings about the election proper; this aside our stolen mandate in some of the senatorial districts, although, the 2023 general elections in Kaduna State particularly, placed the presidential candidate at second position in the state with huge number of votes, that alone was a good sign that we all worked to achieve that outcome.

“Having said that, we would like to draw your attention to an important usual and normal anomaly. It is a misnomer of the highest order to state that the Labour Party’s in-house rancour and squabble is alien to the political arena. It is a well known fact that, in every house there must be disagreements, but these differences, most of the time allow for mending crack walls.

“The LP is not immune to this. We can not shy away from these facts; we had our differences, on so many issues which resulted in chains of enmity within the party but that is brought to the fore today, with the aim of settling our differences, setting aside our loathing and embracing each other.

“In spite of these in-house rancour within the Labour Party, the Kaduna State chapter remained an indivisible mechanisation, never compromised its dream and never allowed any faction to spring up.

“Any such idea was crushed before it sprang its ugly hydra-head. We have remained a knitted, undeterred, committed unit, except for the unruly conduct of a greedy few who want the reins of leadership at all cost, and have failed to face their responsibilities.

“Engineer Mike Auta has been a pioneer of peace in this aspect; he has been in forefront and since he is a lover of peace, has constantly and consistently brought party officials and supporters together and preached the message of hope with the belief that the party would take off soon and reach its height.

“There seems to be a total absence of leadership in the state’s LP, despite being lucky to have had the Vice Presidential candidate (Datti Baba Ahmed), the organising secretary and other top figures at the national level down to the state. These political powerhouses, who are from Kaduna State seemed to have joined this movement only to propel their career and have blown cold since election results were announced on all levels.

“They have refused to consider the epileptic state of the party’s existence, especially the common man on the street, who lost his voice and sense of decorum, singing and chanting the songs of the Labour party, by extension, those of us present here today, who in our various constituencies worked tirelessly to ensure that our names were written in sands of time as regards Kaduna State and Nigerian politics.

“A stark example is our dear presidential candidate during the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, who on several occasions, came into Kaduna but never thought it worthy or necessary to invite the leadership of the party and its esteemed supporters in the State for a round table (to sit and review our past activities), especially those in the North West Zone. He has chosen to pursue his personal ambition rather than putting the people first, by reconciling our differences and healing our wounds.

“We expected him to have called for zonal meetings; each zone, identify the gaps and cement the cracks that almost collapsed our efforts. We urge Peter Obi not to shy away from the fact that he is the leader of the party and by extension, the party’s presidential flag bearer, whose responsibility is to put the house in order. In spite of this, we appreciate his efforts and salute his courage,” the group noted.

Chieftains of the party present at the meeting include: the state’s acting chairman of the party, Alhaji Is a Ciroma Beba, acting Secretary, Sani Musa Sahabi among other state executives.

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