Edo Labour Party Crisis Escalate as Two Chairmen Attend INEC Meeting


Edo Labour Party Crisis Escalate as Two Chairmen Attend INEC Meeting


The ongoing crisis within the Edo State Labour Party escalated at a stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City, chaired by INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and attended by representatives from 17 political parties. The tension was palpable when two individuals both claimed to be the state chairman of the Labour Party.


Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie was the first to introduce herself, stating, “I am the Right Honourable Elizabeth Uyimwen Ativie. By the grace of God, I am the youngest and the latest chairman in town, the Chairman of the Labour Party, Edo State.”


Immediately following her, Mr. Kelly Ogbaloi stepped up and declared, “I am Comrade Kelly Ogbaloi (KSE), Chairman, Labour Party, Edo State.” The unexpected scene caused the attendees to break into laughter, highlighting the party’s internal strife.


In a brief interview with THEWILL, Mr. Ogbaloi asserted his position, stating, “I am the substantive Chairman of the Labour Party in Edo State. As far as I know, there has been no change in leadership. I will continue my duties until the situation is properly addressed. That is why I attended the INEC meeting.”


Mr. Ogbaloi further explained that Mrs. Ativie’s appointment was rumored to have been made by the suspended National Chairman, Julius Abure. He questioned the legitimacy of such an appointment, given that Abure and his executive committee had been suspended by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Ogbaloi emphasized that proper procedures for such appointments were not followed, and that a party congress, not a committee, should decide such matters.


Attempts to contact Mrs. Ativie, a former Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, were unsuccessful.


The turmoil follows the suspension of Julius Abure by the Edo State chapter of the Labour Party. The National Transition Committee (NTC), led by Abdulwaheed Omar, advised Abure to refrain from participating in party activities in Edo State. The NTC, through its Media and Publicity sub-committee chair, Comrade Tony Akeni, dismissed the Nnewi Convention where Abure claimed re-election, labeling it as illegitimate.


The NTC stated that Abure was suspended by the ward executive of Ward 3, Arue, Uromi, in Esan North East Local Government Area, with the suspension ratified by the state executive council. The legitimacy of this suspension was confirmed in letters submitted to INEC and the party’s national headquarters.


Comrade Tony Akeni emphasized that any claims of dissolving the Edo State Labour Party’s executive council by Abure were invalid. The NTC reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the party’s constitution and warned against any attempts to disrupt party activities.


The NTC advised Julius Abure to respect his suspension and stop presenting himself as a Labour Party member. They urged the party’s Edo State leaders to focus on the upcoming governorship election and support the party’s candidate, Barrister Olumide Akpata.


In contrast, the Abure-led national leadership dissolved the Ogbaloi-led executive in Edo State and installed a caretaker committee led by Mrs. Ativie, claiming that the tenure of the previous executive had expired in April 2024. However, before this change, the Ogbaloi-led executive had already endorsed Abure’s suspension as National Chairman.


This internal conflict within the Labour Party highlights significant challenges as the party prepares for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.


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