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LP suspends national treasurer for accusing Abure of misappropriation of funds

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The Labour Party (LP) has suspended Oluchi Opara, its national treasurer, for accusing Julius Abure, national chairman of the party, of misappropriation of funds.

On Monday, Opara, during a press conference in Abuja, accused Abure of allegedly misappropriating N3.5 billion belonging to the party.

She said the N3.5 billion was raised from sales of forms and fundraising activities in the build-up to the 2023 elections.

Opara said she was compelled to raise alarm because the “internal mechanisms” in the party have “failed woefully” to hold Abure accountable for “brazen abuse of office and misappropriation of party funds”.

But the LP in a reaction said the national treasurer is “under some external influences” and only read a press statement written by “our detractors to further tar the image of the party”.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Obiora Ifoh, LP’s national publicity secretary, said Opara has been suspended for six months.

Ifoh said LP did not raise N3.5 billion from the sale of forms as the national treasurer alleged.

“We wished that was true but the truth is that the party realised only N1.2 billion from not just the sale of forms but also from other sources, including membership cards, donations amongst others,” Ifoh said.

“The party through the campaign bodies and support groups realized another N800.000.000, a fund solely managed by the Campaign Organisation, not the party.

“The party accounts have been properly audited up till June 2023 and have since been submitted and received by INEC.”

Ifoh said the leadership of the LP on Tuesday set up a disciplinary committee to probe the national treasurer over the accusations she made.

He said the committee invited Opara to appear before it on Wednesday to clear her name in the spirit of a fair hearing but shunned the invitation.

The LP spokesperson said the disciplinary committee thereafter recommended Opara’s suspension from the party.

“Convinced that the National Treasurer is on a mission to stifle life out of our very cherished party, an emergency NWC was summoned yesterday being February 13,” Ifoh said.

“Arising from the meeting, the NWC set up a disciplinary committee to try the National Treasurer, Ms Oluchi Opara for bringing the party to disrepute.

“At the meeting held Tuesday evening February 13, 2024, in Abuja, in exercise of its powers as contained in the Party’s Constitution with the intention of a fair hearing, the NWC extended an invitation to the National Treasurer to appear before it on Wednesday (Today) February 14, 2024 by 10am (12 hours) to discuss the recent development.

“The party regrets that the National Treasurer shunned the invitation by the disciplinary committee, to clear herself and her actions.

“We see this as an affront to the party leadership and millions of our members who are watching on how their party’s image which they have laboured hard to build is trolled by one ingrate.

“The disciplinary committee has however recommended to the National Executive Council of the party through the National Working Committee that Ms Oluchi Opara be suspended from the Labour Party for a minimum of 6 months. This suspension is with immediate effect.

“We sincerely regret this development. We however urge our teaming members to understand that this is a price to pay for success. We will continue to reform the party until we achieve the best, good enough to drive our New Nigeria agenda.”

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38-year-old Omobayo to replace impeached Shaibu as Edo deputy governor

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Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, has picked Omobayo Godwin as his deputy, hours after the impeachment of Philip Shaibu.

The 38-year-old Omobayo is scheduled to be sworn in at the Edo government house in Benin City, the state capital, in the next couple of hours.

Born on July 19, 1986, Omobayo hails from Akoko Edo LGA of the state.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical electronics, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Benin (UNIBEN).

Shaibu was impeached on Monday by the Edo house of assembly.

His impeachment followed the adoption of the report of a seven-man investigative panel.

The panel was set up by Daniel Okungbowa, chief judge of Edo, and was headed by S. A. Omonuwa, a retired justice.

Shaibu was accused of “misconduct, perjury and disclosure of government secrets”.

Obaseki fell out with Shaibu after the latter showed interest in contesting the governorship election.

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I’m not leaving LP — we’ll resolve all issues, says Obi

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Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, says he is not leaving the party.

Obi spoke on Sunday during the inauguration of a borehole he donated to traders at Pantami cattle market in Gombe state.

The former Anambra governor said he would financially support 100 traders to boost their businesses.

Responding to whether he would leave the LP due to the recent leadership crisis, Obi said there is no such thing, adding that issues in the party would be resolved.

“No, there is no such thing. I am for peace. I like peace. I believe that we are one. We are one people and our concentration should be on peace and I believe we will resolve all issues,” he said.

On the speculation linking him with Nasir el-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna, for the 2027 elections, Obi said he is more interested in the welfare of Nigerians than in the election.

“We are always concentrating on the election rather than what Nigerians are going through,” he said.

“My commitment is about Nigerians living in a better society, given a better life. You could see this business (market) without water for years. That is what we should care about and that is my concern.”

The LP has been embroiled in crises, ranging from allegations of misappropriation of funds, and leadership tussles and calls for the resignation of the party’s national chairman

On March 27, the LP conducted a national convention in Anambra state to re-elect Julius Abure as its national chairman.

Obi did not attend the convention, fuelling speculations that he might be scheming to dump the LP for another platform.

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Ondo guber: Police disown report on certificate forgery against Aiyedatiwa

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The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have disowned a report claiming that the force had concluded investigations into the certificate forgery allegations against Lucky Aiyedatiwa, governor of Ondo.

Recently, a report, purportedly signed by “DCP Tahir Usman”, on the probe of O’level certificate of Aiyedatiwa, made the rounds on social media.

In the report, it was claimed that “there is no proof to show” that Aiyedatiwa attended Ikoyi High School, Ikosi-Ketu, Lagos.

In a statement on Friday, Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, said the alleged signatory to the report does not have the authority to release such a document on behalf of the force.

Adejobi said the force is currently investigating the source of the document and circumstances surrounding the circulation.

“The document alleges fraudulent misrepresentation, certificate forgery, examination malpractice, and perjury against the governor,” the statement reads.

“We wish to clarify that the said document did not originate from the Nigeria Police Force.

“The alleged signatory, a deputy commissioner of police, does not have the authority to release such a report on behalf of the force criminal investigation department (FCID) or any other such departments within the Nigeria Police Force.

“We urge the public to exercise caution and refrain from spreading unverified information that could potentially tarnish the reputation of individuals or public officials.”

Ahead of the November governorship election in Ondo, there have been a raft of allegations bordering on certificate forgery against Aiyedatiwa.

In January, the Ondo State Redemption Initiative (OSRI) accused the governor of “forging a certificate he claimed to have gotten from the University of Ibadan”.

“He claimed to have acquired an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Ibadan in 2001 but checks have proved that an Advanced diploma in business administration was not available at the University of Ibadan as of 2001,” Adebayo Ogunsanmi, the group’s president, had said.

Responding to the allegation, Ebenezer Adeniyan, the chief press secretary to Aiyedatiwa, asked the group to provide evidence to back their claims.

On Thursday, Aiyedatiwa submitted his nomination forms at the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

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