Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, President of INEC by Angela Atabo
The Labor Party has denounced the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognize Dr. Mike Omotosho as its national president and urged the commission to do so without further delay.
The Forum of Presidents of the Labor Party made the call at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday at the end of a two-day meeting of the body.
The group's president, Mr. Joseph Ndirang, said Omotosho emerged at a special party convention in October 2017, replacing Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, who was fired for allegations of fraud.
He said that the INEC witnessed the convention, but refused to recognize and work with Omotosho as party president.
Ndirang said the situation had remained that way despite party statements, which culminated in a protest at INEC's headquarters in Abuja in February.
According to him, the silence of INEC on the subject is undermining the decision of the party in the convention of 2017 that brought Omotosho.
He said the party was surprised that to date, the commission still did not recognize Omotosho.
"The meeting noted with dismay the inability of INEC, as a regulator of the activities of the political parties, to fully comply and impartially implement the overflowing decision of the supreme body.
"The Labor Party convention unanimously eliminated the former president, Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, and elected Omotosho as the new party president.
"The meeting noted that the convention that eliminated Abdulsalam from his position was convened in accordance with the provisions of the Party Constitution, Article 13c and in accordance with the requirements and guidelines of INEC.
"Up to that point, there should be no reason why Abdulsalam's name should continue to appear on INEC's website after INEC supervised and oversaw the constitutional process that duly removed it," he said.
Ndirang added that to "avoid doubts, copies of the Nigeria Police report and the forensic audit report carried out on the financial accounts of the party that accused Abdulsalam were made available."
He expressed the distaste of the forum for Abdulsalam's continued illegal self-defilement as national party chairman after the National Labor Committee and the convention had dismissed him from office.
He said that this perpetuation of illegality had led people to believe that the party was in a kind of crisis, which was not true.
"The presidents' forum reaffirms the outcome of the 2017 special convention and also demands that all relevant stakeholders respect and defend the party's decisions.
"The meeting demands that INEC recognize and only deal, in the future, Omotosho as the national president of the duly elected party," said the president of the forum.
Ndirang said the forum also rejected the clandestine move by a former governor to kidnap the party through the back door, adding that the governor abandoned the party that appointed him.
He said that the presidents also rejected all the detractors' plans to drag the party into an unholy coalition for selfish interests.
He said the party would continue to be a solid political party with its socialist ideology for the betterment of Nigerians.
When contacted, the Director of Education of Voters and Publicity at INEC, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said that he did not have a deep knowledge of the crisis in the party.
He promised to verify and determine the position of the commission on the subject of the presidency.
When the party leadership protested to the INEC in February, the Deputy Director of Security, Mr. Musa Sekpa, assured that the issue would be studied.