The crisis rocking Ogun State chapter of Labour Party deepened on Friday with the National Working Committee(NWC) of the party moving against Ashade Michael – led State executives.
The NWC dissolved the state excos immediately following a decision reached in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), after its meeting on Friday.
The NWC also sacked its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Abayomi Arabambi.
The Daily Crucible learnt that the NWC moved against the state executives and Arabambi over alleged involvement in anti -party activities.
Cracks leading to the festering crisis developed in Ogun LP when the zonal leaders distanced themselves from the recent attack on the national leadership of the party, Barr. Julius Abure and chief Clement Ojukwu; the national organizing secretary, who also doubles as the General Secretary of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council.
The state chapter of the party had on November 24 passed a “vote of no confidence” on Barr. Abure and chief Clement Ojukwu; over alleged plots by the two to make LP Igbos affairs.
The state LP also demanded the immediate withdrawal of a letter of authority allegedly given to the National Chairman’s brother in – law; Barr. Nelson Adogah, describing it as an act of political brigandage, lawlessness organized executive rascality and malfeasance against the constitution of Labour Party.
Comrade Ashade Michael (State Chairman) and Comrade Feyisola Michael (State Secretary), had at a press briefing where party members and some state executives were in attendance, said they arrived at the decision on the affected national officials following an alleged deliberate attempt
by them to “Southernise” Labour Party and robbed it of any semblance of national outlook.
They lamented that membership of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council was heavily tilted to Southeast geopolitical zone while what was left for others had also been taken over by Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) migrants, whom they described as “dissidents.”
They therefore demanded that a meeting of National Executive Council be summoned immediately to avert political unrest in the LP, alleging that the party had also been hijacked by PDP dissidents through Clement Ojukwu and Barr.Julius Abure.
But in a counter move, the zonal leaders – Engr. Jagun Lookman; Deputy State Chairman(Ogun East), Chief Ope Ijaola, Deputy State Chairman(Ogun Central) and Prince Oluwatosin Meadows, the State Organising Secretary, on behalf of other exco members and state leaders of LP, distanced themselves from the anti – Abure and Obi – Datti position of Ashade and his cohorts, describing them as dissidents.
Engr. Jagun Lookman; Chief Ope Ijaola and Prince Oluwatosin Meadows, stated that all the allegations raised against Abure and Ojukwu could have been resolved internally without blowing it up, adding that the action of Aahade and others was clearly needless, condemnable and unfortunate.
They alleged that the step taken by Ashade and others was “engineered by some disgruntled elements within and outside the party, who are hell bent and desperate to de-market the Labour Party and its national leadership ahead of the 2023 elections.”
They, however, assured that on the court issues affecting candidates of party in Ogun State, no stone would be left unturned to prevent any officer of the party from extorting, defrauding or manipulating unsuspecting candidates on the basis of legal actions of the party.
But the matter spiraled out of control December 1 when Ashade Michael – led State executives stepped up its moves and declared that the Director – General of Peter Obi – Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Doyin Okupe, and 11 others were no longer bonafide members of the LP in the state.
The SEC cited violation of the party’s constitution regarding payment of membership dues as reason Okupe and others could not continue to be members of the LP.
Ashade specifically accused Okupe of polarising the party in Ogun State with people he described as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “dissidents and political liabilities who are only using LP to revive their political and financial life lines.”
He asked Okupe to provide evidence of any payment in respect of membership dues prior to December 1, 2022 into any bank account of the LP.
As a demonstration of their seriousness, he asked the national chairman Barr. Julius Abure and the party Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, to obey the party’s constitution by relieving Okupe of his position as D – G of PCC immediately and appoint another DG for the body, who should come from the North to reflect federal characters and political balance.
Ashade hinged the action on article 9(3)xi of the party’s constitution providing that “only fully registered and financially up to date members of the Party shall have the right to vie for office in the Ward Executive, Local Government Area Executive, State Executive Councils and the National Working Committee of the Party or be a delegate to the Congresses and the National Convention.”
He said, “Article 9(3)iii of our Party’s Constitution states as follows: ‘only members who pay their monthly membership dues at rates prescribed shall be deemed to be bonafide members of the Party. Arrears of dues of up to six months shall lead to forfeiture of membership.’
“Despite repeated demand from various meetings I had with Dr. Doyin Okupe in respect of his mandatory constitutional requirements to fulfill membership status, he has failed woefully in this regards with some others to flagrantly disobey the constitution of Labour party.
“… In line with article 19(3) of the Labour Party constitutional provision, we declare that Dr. Doyin Okupe, having failed in the payment of his membership dues for the last six months of joining the Party, has forfeited his membership of the Party and no longer fit and competent to continue to act as the DG of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).
“We hereby notify our National Chairman Bar Julius Abure and Labour Party Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, that it’s expedient to obey the constitution of Labour party by immediately appoint another DG for the PCC and that should come from the North to reflect Federal Characters and political balance.”
The state chairman listed those striped of their membership as Dr. Doyin Okupe, Abayomi Collins, Hon. Abel Olaleye, Jagun Lookman, Olori Oluwabukola Soyoye, Mr. Gbadebo Fesomade, (former State Treasurer) and Mr. Abdulmalik Olaleye (former State Youth Leader).
Others are Mr. Jide Amusan( former State Publicity Secretary) Mr. Adeshina Wasiu Shojobi (former Asst State Youth Leader), Miss Deborah Adewale, (former Senatorial Women Leader Ogun East)
and Mr. Olatunde Abolade (former Asst State Secretary).
He warned that any further act of disobedience by any of the affected former party members would be resisted through lawful means of enforcement in the court of competent jurisdiction, stressing that the SEC of the party was committed to party supremacy as enshrined in Labour Party constitution.
He further warned that legal would taken against the national chairman, Barr. Abure and the presidential candidate, Peter Obi, if they failed or foot – drag to relieve Doyin Okupe of his position in the party’s campaign council.
To filled the positions of those whose membership of LP were terminated, the State Executive Council approved their replacement in acting capacity since nature abhor vaccum.
The council therefore appointed Mr. Theo Igbozuruike as Acting Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Oladimeji Elizabeth Temidayo, Ag.State Women Leader, Babaseun Ogunyemi, Ag.Dep. State Chairman II, Mr. Adebiyi Adekunle, Ag.State Youth Leader and Mr. Olaniyi Shobajo, Acting State Treasurer.
But in apparent move to clip the wings of the state executives and that of Arabambi, the NWC wielded the big the big stick on them.