Labour Party: Can Abdulsalam survive the latest ‘coup’?

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For the third consecutive times within months in this year, the embattled National Chairman of Labour Party is facing sack threat from office. BODE OLAGOKE, in this piece takes a look at the arguments of concerned parties in the plot.
Labour Party (LP) will be liken to a cat with nine lives if he eventually survive the latest plot to him ease out of the saddle as the party’s boss.
The party chairman might be like a fish that loses strength whenever water dries up. Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam might not find the latest battle in his favour because unlike in the previous cases where he enjoyed the support of his closest deputies against his foes, the time around, he fighting against his deputies who are up in arms against him.
The drama that ensued, when the latest coup plotters stormed the national secretariat of the Labour Party led by the new factional chairman with hundreds of delegates, seems to suggest that Alhaji Abdulsalam might even have surrendered even before the battle formally begins.
Our correspondent, who was at the premises of the party when the aggrieved leaders and members storm the party secretariat to take control, observed that the embattled Abdusalam quietly sneaked out of his office with his visitors while the faction took charge. He offered no resistance, instead allowed the aggrieved party members to take over the secretariat.
Early in the year, the only Senator on the ticket of the Labour Party in the upper legislative chamber, Omo-Agege from Delta Central, tactfully created a faction in the party just to ensure there is confusion, conflict and division all of which are grounds anyone desiring to decamp to do so with minimum hassle. Expectedly, he decamped to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Omo-Agege-led faction, that accused Abdulsalam of running the party like a dictator among other accusations, adduced that continuing with his leadership would mean certain doom for the party. Therefore, Omo-Agege organised some supposed delegate in Delta State, convene a meeting where they elected their own executives. At the moment though, the whereabouts of that executive body is unknown, especially since their leader has jumped ship into the ruling APC.
But the latest coup against Abdulsalam is not about defection to another party, but gives it weight are the allegations bothering on contravention various sections of the party’s constitution, alleged embezzlement of party finances and arrogation of undue powers to the office of the chairman, “as well as forgery.”
Deputy National Chairman (South), Comrade Calistus Okafor, a onetime strong pillar to Abdulsalam, who presided over the Abuja Special convention, said Abdulsalam, never held party meetings to agree on the way forward instead had chosen to administer the party through executive fiat, a situation he said made other NWC members uncomfortable.
Among atrocities, he claimed that the majority of secretariat staff had long stopped coming to work because they were owed about eights’ salary arrears. According to him, “Since 2015, Labour Party has never held meetings, even towns and associations hold meetings regularly. I usually feel ashamed when I watch the TV and see the PDP, APC and other parties convening and holding meetings and we have nothing to show.
“Labour Party is supposed to be the mouthpiece of the people in a period when the ruling APC is having crisis of all sorts, PDP is having one corruption case or the other. The Leadership has however rendered our party useless.
“In the build up to the 2015 general elections, the party generated a whopping sum of N1,344,047,000 (One Billion three hundred and forty four million forty seven thousand Naira only) all from the sales of expression of interest forms, nomination form and waivers to aspirants,” the aggrieved party leaders revealed.
While addressing newsmen shortly after taking over the party Secretariat, the new national chairman, Rotarian Tayo Omotosho, assured party faithful of a new beginning, and added that the party would soon be reposition to challenge others for elective posts.
Omotosho, who is a former Governor of Rotary Club in Abuja, promised to bring back all the aggrieved members who had left the party due to the dictatorial and inept leadership style of the former national chairman.
But while responding to the allegation the same day, Abduljadir Abdulsalam, described the new faction as “inconsequential members of the party,” adding that he had made official report to the police.
He described the purported special convention of the party organised by some aggrieved leaders of the party as “gathering of miscreants” saying the factional chairman Tayo Omotosho was never a member of the party.
Abdulsalam said “the Labour Party has a procedure for calling National Executive meeting or convention, the National Chairman must direct the secretariat to call such meeting. I have already written INEC that for some time now I will not likely call for NWC meeting, NEC or Convention. I have INEC acknowledgement letter with me.
“So, for some people to meet at a closet claiming to have held a convention is inappropriate. For you to call a national convention you must notify the INEC within 21 days, and that was not done. Secondly, the man that is laying claim to be the new National Chairman is not a member of Labour Party.
“Though he (Omotosho) came to contest election under the party sometimes ago but he never paid for nomination form or anything and since then after the election in 2015 we never saw him again.”
According to him, as the authentic national chairman of Labour Party, he in conjunction would soon call for NEC meeting to deal frontally with the matter.
As the drama unfolds, analysts are also asking why the aggrieved NWC members, especially the deputy national chairman allowed a non NWC member emerge as factional chairman. Ordinarily, when a chairman is impeached his deputy should ideally take over automatically and not a ‘non member’ like Omotosho.

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