The leadership of the Labour Party has distanced its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, from allegation that he called for the postponement of May 29 inauguration ceremony for the swearing-in of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The rebuttal was issued in Abuja on Thursday by the party’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh.
Recall that the Lamidi Apapa-led faction of LP has disclosed that his camp was not among the party members calling for a shift in Tinubu’s swearing in, pending the determination of the petitions before the Presidential Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
According to him, he has always been of the opinion that the inauguration “may not have any impact on the ongoing legal tussle on the presidential election involving our party, APC and INEC.”
Lamidi, who spoke through the faction’s image maker, Abayomi Arabambi, posited that the Electoral Act and the Constitution of Nigeria did not give room for a vacuum.
He said, “What Peter Obi is crying for is not supported by the law. A refusal to swear-in Tinubu as President on May 29, will create a vacuum in the system, saying the law does not allow this.
“Even Peter Obi once benefitted from the system of being sworn into office despite pending petitions filed against him before the tribunal by Andy Uba. The law has to be complied with, which is to swear in Tinubu as president, and if anybody wants to change the narrative, they will have to change the law.
“So whether the president-elect is sworn in or not, there is right to remove him legally if it is found out that he was not duly elected.”
Reacting to his claim in a statement titled “Apapa’s statement on ‘swearing in’ reflecting ‘Hand of Esau, Voice of Jacob’”, Ifoh denied that his principal ever raised such issue whether in a private or public conversation.
While alluding that the real enemies of the party are beginning to unfold, the LP acting spokesman noted that no amount of hatchet can distract Obi from reclaiming his mandate.
He said, “In all Peter Obi’s public and private statements, he has never said or by implication, insinuated that May 29 should be shifted. He is a democrat and he is one person that believes so much in the judiciary as the last arbiter, and that is why he has resorted to the court to seek justice.
“I had refused to join issues with the expelled former acting National Publicity Secretary of Labour Party, Abayomi Arabambi and the suspended Deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa on their mischievous narratives of the ‘May 29 handover’ to INEC’s declared winner of the presidential election. The Labour Party actually does not want to comment on the matter which hearing has since commenced at the presidential appeal tribunal.
“However, the text of the statement which was read as commercial in about three television stations in prime time hours suggests that the real sponsors of the crisis in the Labour Party would stop at nothing in ensuring that they sustain the imbroglio.
“Few weeks ago, you will recall how we alerted Nigerians to plots by this faction to withdraw the cases filed by some of our candidates in the tribunals, allegations they are yet to exonerate themselves. Part of their plots to scuttle the ongoing presidential tribunal as shamelessly boasted by Arabambi is to desecrate the sanctity of the tribunal venue on the next adjourned date with Lamidi Alaba forcing himself to appear as a representative of the Labour Party. Nigerians already know that you are sponsored to work against the presidential ambition of Peter Obi. No one is in doubt about Apapa camp’s altruistic ambition to remain a destructive agent in the Labour Party.”