ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The crisis facing the Labour Party in Imo State has taken another turn as two factions of the party produced different gubernatorial candidates, Senator Athan Achonu and Ikechukwu Ukaegbu, in the parallel primary elections that was held over the weekend.
Ukaegbu emerged winner in an affirmative election where one of the aspirants, Ihechi Ike, stepped down for him.
The National Vice chairman of the party, North East, Mohammed Ibrahim Alkali, who represented the acting National Chairman of the party, Lamido Apapa, announced Ukaegbu winner.
He handed the flag of the party to Ukaegbu, noting that the election conducted had followed due process.
Addressing newsmen shortly, the National Youth Leader of the party, Anselem Iragbe, affirmed that the election conducted on Sunday met all legal requirements.
He said the Julius Abure-led faction that conducted the Saturday primary election was not legally bound to do so.
“The election conducted today, April 16, is the authentic governorship primary of the party. An FCT High Court issued a restraining order on April,4 on Julius Abure, the National Chairman, his treasurer and the organising secretary and asking them to stop parading themselves as the officials of Labour Party.
”This means from the 5th they are no longer officials of the party. So, whatever took place yesterday as election does not stand according to the face of the law,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, the Aburi-led faction of the party had conducted its own primary election where senator Athan Achonu emerged with 134 votes defeating his closest rival, Lincoln Ugunewe who polled 125 votes.
Other result from that election as announced by the returning officer, Dr.Alex Otti, the Abia State Governor–elect are : Martins Agbaso, 13 votes, Mrs Ndidi 1vote, David Mbamara ,5 votes, Charles Agomuo,1 vote, Kelechi Nwagwu ,9 votes and Chinedu Amadi ,4 votes.
However, Ike who gave reasons for stepping down for Ukaegbu said: “I will not say much, I entered Imo and saw that the State needed labour party and labour party is the party that Imo also need, we have seen the charade that has been going on in southeast, it’s very troublesome and we have come to cleanse it, this is what we need and on this I step down for Ukaegbu.”
In his acceptance speech, Ukaegbu vowed never to surrender his ticket to anybody.
He said: “I thank you all for making this happen today, I want to assure you that I will make you proud, I will never surrender my ticket to anybody, I have prepared for this for twelve years and one thing I would like to tell you again is that I’m not an opportunist, together we would build Imo of our dream.”