OWERRI, Nigeria – The Labour Party has refuted claims that their candidate for the upcoming Imo state governorship election, Senator Athan Achonu, has been dismissed by the Appeal Court.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, dismissed the reports as “fake news” originating from the faction led by Lamidi Apapa, whom Ifoh stated are no longer members of the Labour Party.
In a detailed statement on Monday, July 24, 2023, Ifoh shed light on the confusion’s convoluted circumstances.
He referenced the case of two Labour Party members, Chief Ukaegbu Ikechukwu Joseph and Sir Basil Maduka, who participated in unauthorized governorship primaries set up by the Apapa faction.
“Maduka was piqued by the outcome of the fake primaries and had challenged the emergence of Ukaegbu. He sued both Ukaegbu and the ‘Labour Party,'” Ifoh explained. “Neither the authentic Labour Party led by Barrister Julius Abure nor its candidate Senator Athan Achonu was put on notice and unaware of the situation.”
The resulting court decision was in favor of Ukaegbu, but according to Ifoh, this has been erroneously conflated with the standing of Senator Achonu.
Ifoh maintained that Achonu remains the Labour Party’s governorship candidate in Imo state, asserting that no court ruling has determined otherwise.
He emphasized that the Independent National Electoral Commission has already published Senator Achonu’s name as the party’s candidate.
According to Ifoh, Ukaegbu has propagated misinformation, claiming the court declared him the Labour Party candidate.
“To our greatest surprise, Chief Ukaegbu Ikechukwu Joseph and his cohorts have flooded the social media with yet another propaganda and falsehood that Court of Appeal has declared him the candidate of the Labour Party, in a matter he was neither the Plaintiff nor Appellant.”
The Labour Party has appealed against the Bayelsa court ruling on jurisdictional grounds, a case that is still pending.
Ifoh denounced the tactics used by the Apapa-led faction, accusing them of trying to “discredit the judiciary and put a tar-brush on the image of the court.”
Ifoh urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria to take stringent action against this faction for “serially distorting the noble judgements put together by our Lord Justices and for perpetually misinforming Nigerians.”
The Publicity Secretary encouraged Labour Party members, supporters, and the Obidient family to continue their support for Senator Achonu in the November governorship election.
The case and its reverberations have shown how social media can amplify and distort political narratives, with far-reaching implications for the electoral process.