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ABIA: Contrary To Earlier Reports, Labour Party Notified INEC Of Primary Election



The revelation stands in stark contrast to previous assertions circulating in the media regarding the party’s adherence to INEC’s guidelines and its submission of essential documents for the general elections.

A letter dated May 26, 2022, addressed to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Abia State and obtained , shows that the Abia Labour Party formally communicated its party primaries schedule to INEC, including changes made to the initial dates.

The revelation also came after a letter surfaced online purporting INEC as asserting that the Abia State Labour Party had failed to provide its membership register as mandated by the Electoral Act 2022 for the 2023 elections.

The purported correspondence, dated April 17, 2023, and bearing reference number INEC/DEPM/APC/278/T, was signed by Rose Oriaran-Anthony, Secretary to the Commission.

The letter attracted considerable attention and had raised concerns with the Labour Party about the party’s eligibility to participate in the February 25 and March 18 elections.

The letter, which was said to be in response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by Ijeoma Arodiogbu, Vice Chairman (South East) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Oriaran-Anthony stated that the Abia LP did “not notified the Commission of dates for the conduct of Ward, LGA, and State Congresses and Delegate lists.” She added, “the Commission did not oversee any Ward, LGA, and State Congresses for the election of delegates by the party.”

In light of this, Arodiogbu urged INEC to impose sanctions on Labour Party candidates and had hinted at the possibility of challenging the party’s victories in the South East region.

Arodiogbu asserted that LP candidates, including their presidential flagbearer, failed to fulfill the requirement of being registered 30 days prior to their respective party primaries, as mandated by the Electoral Act of 2022.

According to Section 77 of the Act, every political party is obligated to maintain a membership register in both hard and digital formats, making it accessible to the Commission no later than 30 days before the designated date for their primaries, congresses, and conventions.

Despite Oriaran-Anthony’s purported letter stating that the Abia Labour Party did not notify the Commission of its Ward, LGA, and State Congresses, records demonstrate that INEC monitored the party’s primary elections that produced Governor Alex Otti and others as LP candidates for the state’s governorship and state assembly elections, among others.

During the LP’s governorship primary held on June 8, incumbent Abia Governor Alex Otti garnered 454 votes in the election reportedly overseen by the party’s National and State executives, INEC officials, and security agencies.

THE WHISTLER sent messages to INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, seeking clarification about the letters but he has yet to respond more than 12 hours after the messages were sent.

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