By Adekunle Williams
Lagos, Aug. 13, 2022 (NAN) The Lagos State Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) Prof. Ifagbemi Awamaridi, says he has not withdrawn his candidature but remains the party’s 2023 governorship candidate in the state.
Awamaridi made this clarification on Saturday at a media briefing to unveil LP’s 10 cardinal programmes for Lagos state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Labour Party on Wednesday, conducted a substitution gubernatorial primary election in Lagos state, where Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour was declared as its gubernatorial candidate for 2023.
Rhodes-Vivour polled 111 votes to defeat Mr Moshood Salvador, a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who got 102 votes.
INEC publication of Personal Particulars of Governorship Candidates in Lagos state, still showed Awamaridi’s name as the gubernatorial candidate of the LP.
Awamaridi insisted that the substitution primaries conducted by the Deputy National Chairman, Mr Bashiru Apapa on Wednesday, was illegal and invalid because he didn’t withdraw his candidature before the substitution was conducted.
The candidate said that no substitution of candidates by the national body of the LP to INEC could superceed the primaries that was conducted by the commission.
“I call the substitution primaries conducted on Wednesday a comedy, because it was against the new Electoral Act to substitute a candidate without his withdrawal notice to the INEC.
” If it were to be the substitution in the old Electoral Act; after conducting primaries, the party in its wisdom can change the candidate that won without his or her consent.
“Then there is always a window for substitution which is different from the window for withdrawal and the window for substitution is where you can substitute without withdrawal.
“However, the widow for withdrawal is different but the new Electoral Act has nullified that because this new act now says that once you have conducted primaries supervised by INEC, you are automatically the candidate.
“What can change it is death and even the withdrawal must not be under duress, besides, I had gone to court to declare that I have not withdrawn and I am not dead but alive so what else.
“It was even alleged that some people want to print my obituary and that is what I heard, and I quickly ran to INEC to show myself that I am alive,” he said.
Awamaridi, therefore, urged the Presidential Candidate of the party, Mr Peter Obi to urgently intervene in the crisis rocking the party to improve his chances in the forthcoming 2023 election in Lagos state.. (NAN)