The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barr. Julius Abure, has described the allegations of forgery against him and members of his executive in Ebonyi, Edo, and other states prior to the 2023 general elections as unfounded.
Abure, who said the allegations were the workings of desperate politicians to weaken the resolve of the Nigerian people invested in the Labour Party, championed the narrative with the intent to distract himself and the executive from focusing on the elections.
He stated that the attention required from his office to prosecute the 2023 elections was huge, and he deferred the visit to the police station on the unfounded allegation.
According to him, updates in the police investigations over the various allegations have exposed the lies and empty orchestration against his person and the dream to better Nigeria through the Labour Party.
He pointed out that all the persons who alleged that they were wrongly changed from being the party flag bearers for the various positions as governor or for legislative seats in Ebonyi, Imo, Edo, etc., were mere placeholders, a scheme adopted by the party at the time to secure the seats for the party to be able to field candidates in the elections.
He said, “I will limit these clarifications to instances. People have come up in the social media space, even on television houses, to say that they were erroneously substituted in the just concluded general elections.
“I want to say very clearly here that no candidate of the party was illegally substituted.
“No person’s signature was forged. Those persons who are making these allegations, no doubt, are those who have been procured by our adversaries and those who are afraid of the fortunes of the party and are therefore working to disorganize the party.
“The so-called Splendour Eze from Ebonyi State who claimed to be a candidate of the party and was wrongly substituted was never a candidate of the party.
“He visited my office one day in the company of the suspended youth leader, Ansalem Eragbe, sometime in May. Asking me to give them an opportunity to participate in the party.
“I saw that he was a young and vibrant young man, and I gave him the opportunity to be appointed as the state chairman of Ebonyi State to chair the caretaker committee. His letter of appointment is dated May 25, 2022.
“If you cross-check this with the INEC record, you will see clearly that, going by the guidelines of the 2023 general elections, party primaries commenced in May and ended in June.
“In Ebonyi State, we obviously did not have a candidate running for the gubernatorial elections, and what we do as a party does not have a strong candidate.
“What we did was use our officials as placeholders in order to give room for substitution. When it was time for gubernatorial primaries in Ebonyi State, we did not have a viable candidate, so I instructed that he should put his name as a placeholder.
“The time came for primaries, and we conducted them. He did emerge as a candidate for the party, and he did fill out his form EC05, which is the candidate’s particulars. This form was uploaded.
“He went ahead to sign his initials; in the process, Peter Obi joined the party, the party grew, and within two weeks we had a huge influx of people, and the candidates emerged from Ebonyi State. The owner of the Barcelona Hotel, Edward Ukeagu, indicated an interest in running for governor on the platform of the party.
“The chairman was invited to the national office, where he was intimated, and we all agree that he should go and withdraw and pave the way for us to conduct party primaries in line with the guidelines of the party. This is his letter of withdrawal, which he submitted.
“It is going to be made available to the press, and I want you to do a comparison of the signatures on the withdrawal letter and affidavit in support of his personal particulars. So he did withdraw, and we conducted fresh primaries, which gave rise to the emergence of Edward Ukeagu as the bona fide candidate from those primaries.
A few days later, the same chairman emerged with another person, saying that he would have preferred to withdraw for that person.
He actually came with one Fidelis Nwankwo, and we said it was late. Having concluded the primary and someone emerging from that primary, it was unfair for us to shortchange him.
“The next thing we saw after he left the office was a petition against the party,” Abure told journalists.
He said the party had taken the petition with a grain of salt, knowing that all parties are aware of the agreement that led to the emergence of Edward Ukeagu, the Ebonyi state LP standard bearer.
Abure said when the campaigns were over, he reported to the police to respond to the alleged allegation of the forgery of the signature, and the police, based on that, came out with a final report, and then legal advice made it clear that his signature was not forged.
The letter was dated August 14 and said that the signature was not forged and the allegation was unfounded.
The National Chairman of the Labour Party said it has become imperative to respond to the lies paraded by those who want the party to fail because they have been parading the interim report and flashing it on social media. So the matter has been laid to rest.
The second issue of forgery was the claim by another person in Edo by the name of Murphy Imasuen, a house representative; he was procured by the distractor or of the party to parade the frivolous accusations.
In this case, Ehiwe Ikuyemwen was actually not the candidate of the party for Uhumwonde/Orhionmwon Local Government Federal Constituency but was the placeholder; he emerged in the primary. Ordinarily, Ikuyemwen was supposed to fill out his form, and his name would be uploaded.
“So where we are going to do substitution later, he will now withdraw, and a new person can emerge. Ikuyemwen again fraudulently planned with Murphy Imasuen. Ikuyemwen went to court, swore an affidavit, substituted himself, and forwarded the form of Murphy Imasuen, which we did not know and erroneously uploaded.
“INEC drew our attention to the person who emerged from the primaries, and we told the executives of the state that the person who emerged from the primaries was not the person that was uploaded. The state agreed that he should withdraw officially in order to save a seat in the substitution primaries that would be organised.
“He also withdrew; the substitution primaries were scheduled, and in the process, other candidates emerged that wanted to participate in the primary. Note that at this point, the party has become large and attractive.
“A former two-time speaker in the Edo Assembly indicated interest, and we wanted quality people in the party, so we accepted that she should join in the substitution primary. Murphy Imasuen refused to participate in that primary and went to organise his own primary elsewhere.
“We conducted our primary, where Elizabeth Active emerged as the candidate of the party, and we consequently uploaded to INEC. And the gentleman came up again with the allegation that he did not withdraw.
The question that arose was that your name was published in June. If you did not withdraw, how come you participated in a primary organised in July? The police investigated it and came up with a report that said the signature was not forged. And the police said it misled them. They are all in the document. Abure stated.