The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken custody of a petition by the immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President and leading Labour Party (LP) aspirant for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, Mr. Olumide Akpata, CITY LAWYER can  authoritatively report.

Titled “URGENT CONCERNS OVER THE LACK OF PREPAREDNESS OF THE LABOUR PARTY FOR THE EDO STATE GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARIES,” the fiery governorship aspirant wrote: “The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the lack of preparedness and transparency surrounding the Labour Party’s planned primaries to produce a gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo State.”

Akpata, who is viewed as the candidate to beat in the LP Primaries, noted that “As of today, Sunday, 18 February 2024, less than 48 hours to the LP Ward Congresses and about 96 hours to the LP Gubernatorial Primaries, I am constrained to inform you that the Labour Party has exhibited little or no preparedness for the said Ward Congresses scheduled for 20 February, 2024, to elect delegates who will vote in the primaries slated for February 23, 2024, which, by the way, is the last possible day for political parties to conduct primaries before the INEC mandated date of February 24, 2024, for all political parties to upload names of gubernatorial candidates who emerged from party primaries.”

Akpata stated that “The complete opacity around the Party’s primaries preparations points to a lack of readiness to conduct any credible process that can stand legal scrutiny. Moreso, the reluctance to carry aspirants along fuels fears that the eventual primaries outcome may have been predetermined regardless of any phantom Congress and the primaries conducted, to rubber stamp a fabricated result.”

He warned that “if things go awry, it could result in pre-election disputes to which INEC will inevitably be joined as a necessary party, thereby tying down its already meager resources and leaving the Commission to grapple with yet another unnecessary and avoidable dispute that could have been averted had the right thing been done and the warning signs heeded.”

Akpata, who is reputed as having replicated the era of the fiery and courageous Alao Aka-Bashorun as NBA President, concluded in his Save-Our-Soul to INEC Chairman: “I count on your leadership to ensure the Labour Party complies fully with the spirit of the Electoral Act 2022, as the timelines stipulated are already upon us.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Labour Party leadership has been embroiled in a heap of controversies, with its embattled Chairman Julius Abure being accused of large-scale corruption.

He has so far fought off a growing clamour among his lieutenants to throw in the towel.

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