Ogboru Quits Labour Party As Crisis Over Proposed Merger With Apc Deepens
SAN FRANCISCO, April 28 (THEWILL) – The Labour Party, LP, governorship candidate for the April 11, 2015 election in Delta State, Chief Great Ovadje Ogboru has finally quit the party ahead of a proposed merger of the party with the All Progressives Congress, APC, THEWILL has learnt.
Although Ogboru is yet to formally declare his exit from the party, one of his political associates told our correspondent in a telephone conversation that he has left LP in preparation for his official decamping after the merger deal may have been concluded with the APC.
The source disclosed that Ogboru alluded to his resignation from LP on Tuesday when he denounced the party during a meeting in Warri, adding that he is currently not in LP nor any other political party since the merger with the state chapter of APC has not been concluded.
This is coming as the national secretariat of Labour Party on Wednesday disassociated itself from any proposed merger by the Delta state chapter of the party with the state APC.
National Chairman of LP, Alhaji A. Salam (Baraden Paiko), in a statement made available to THEWILL, declared as null and void any press release to that effect that LP Delta state chapter was merging with the APC in the state, stressing that anyone or group of persons doing so on behalf of the party does so at their own peril.
The statement however stated that the embattled state chairman of LP, Chief Tony Ezeagwu, who was purportedly elected during the party congresses, remains the party’s chairman in Delta state and has the mandate of the national leadership of the party to carry out his constitutional duties and day-to-day activities of the party in the state.
THEWILL recalls that some splinter group of the party, which styled itself as “Light Of Labour”, LOL, had earlier on Tuesday in Ekpan, Warri, issued a press release signed by one Evang. Ossai Abeh as (State Chairman) and Mr. Tosan Awani, (Secretary), declaring that they have taken over the structure of LP and were going ahead to merge with APC without the consent of Ezeagwu, who they alleged had compromised his position as state chairman of LP.
The pressure group had reportedly passed a vote of no confidence on Ezeagwu over the merger process, saying; “After x-raying the activities of Ezeagwu, the house concluded that he has been compromised and as such lost his integrity and can no longer be trusted to lead the merger process.
“The house has passed a vote of no confidence on him and every member who agrees to the merger can no longer hold meeting, private talks or even phone calls with him.
“The entire structures of the party under the leadership of the house are converted automatically from the state, down to the LGAs and ward levels to the Light Of Labour, and would retain their position as they were in LP.”
The communiqué further said: “That all member and structures of LOL have relinquished their membership of LP and are fusing with the APC under the new arrangement of the 9-man committee of both parties headed by Mr. Fred Okpowhori of APC and Sir Richard Odibo of the LOL.”
Meanwhile, the state chairman of LP, Chief Ezeagwu told THEWILL that the party was not part of the proposed merger, stressing that the groups purportedly claiming to have taken over the structures of LP were being childish as they are not recognize anywhere constitutionally to go into a merger talk on behalf of a registered political party.
THEWILL gathered that Ezeagwu refused to follow Ogboru into the proposed merger with the APC because he could not be get a deal to become the chairman of the party.
Although THEWILL could not independently verify the claims by Ogboru that he would hand over the party to the former chairman of the LP in the state whenever he is leaving the party, the 2015 LP governorship candidate was quoted to have said; “There is an understanding within the LP, which states that when I'm leaving the party with my supporters, we would hand over the party to the original chairman of the party.
“If he (Ezeagwu) wants to go, he can go. What is our business with Ezeagwu who cannot win one unit in the State? If he is coming, fine, but if he is not, he can go on his own but he is going with nothing and the rightful chairman of the party would take over the party,” Ogboru was quoted to have said.
But Ezeagwu told our correspondent in a telephone conversation that; “I am the final authority of LP in Delta State. A candidate cannot direct the affairs of the party. If he (Ogboru) had won and is the governor is a different ball game entirely but for now, he doesn't have that kind of capacity”.
The LP Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District at the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, will remain in the party since the merger has collapsed. However, Omo-Agege is expected to join the APC during the next round of elections.
Story by Joe Ogbodu.