A chieftain of the Labour Party, Sir Basil Maduka, in this interview with Adedayo Akinwale, explains why he took the party to court and his decision to support LP’s candidate, Senator Athan Achonu, for the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial poll in Imo State.
Three primaries were held in Imo state for the governorship election, which of the factions conducted your primary?
There was an exco in Imo state. Because of the situation and what happened in the presidential election, the party by its wisdom, led by Barrister (Julius) Abure dissolved the state exco because of the confusion that came on board during the presidential election, where they saw that the existing exco then had overstayed their tenure.
So, they needed to conduct the primaries. So the leadership of Abure dissolved the current exco as at that time and set up another Interim State Working Committee. So the last exco did handover of the party, they took off. But two weeks after that, there was a court injunction. The party office was sealed. Behold, we were told that some four Hilux cars came from the Government House to seal off the party office. The court injunction says the status quo should remain. But there is exco sworn in already, their names are in INEC. That was part of the genesis of the problem. It was Abure who signed the appointment letter for them.
So, because of that court injunction, the party by its wisdom called stakeholders meeting in Abuja, what is the way forward? So, along the line, the party by its wisdom set up a committee to come and handle the primary election. Their mandate was to revalidate the party’s register, conduct primaries and do Congress within that three months.
So these people that are already existing said they have to conduct the primaries since their tenure has not expired.
The committee set up by Abure was also there, that was how we had two parallel primaries. These people who were already existing had to now produce me as the authentic candidate because the matter was still in court. The committee set up by Abure produced another candidate. So let the court interpret who is the authentic candidate.
It was much later we began to hear there is someone called Lamidi Apapa. It was in the process of court we had there was another person who claimed that he did primaries, we then asked him how come? On which structure, who did the primary?
That was how we started hearing about Apapa. So, since the matter is in court, let the court interpret. These people are the State Working Committee set up by Abure.
This other one, there is a committee set up by him also to supervise this as a result of that court injunction because the party is always supreme.
Any primary of that nature, the national leadership of the party must come to supervise, it was in this process we now heard there was somebody else who came and did his own on Sunday, being 16th, which we all know that INEC does not work on Sunday. That was how we began to hear about Apapa, it was on social media I first heard about him.
You took the party to court and the Supreme Court has already decided. And the party is saying that you are no longer a member of the party. What is your position now in the Labour Party?
People who are saying that I’m not known in the party, nobody can say that in Imo.
You know when some people want to be relevant through social media or wherever… Somebody who formed a party, financed a party till after the presidential election.
Now, somebody is telling you that you’re not known in the party, that is to tell you that something is happening somewhere.
And as a result of that two primaries, these people now produced me as a candidate.
The committee also had a candidate — Senator Achonu. That’s the two known candidates. This one was committee, this one was the people already in court.
So we had to go to court so that the court could interpret who the authentic candidate was. At the end of the day, the Supreme Court in its wisdom decided that this is the candidate. You can’t challenge the law and when a matter has gone to the Supreme Court, you have to accept it because that’s the law.
And today, we will make sure that our party wins. Because I’ve invested a lot. I’m the highest investor, so my party in Imo has to win. Nobody from Imo can tell you that Basil Maduka is not known.
Let me show you the structure I set up in Imo as regards Labour party. I set up and also the major financier of what we called The Big Tent. The Big Tent has structure in 305 wards funded by me.
Obi/Datti movement — there are so many support groups, as I said today, 55 support groups (Obi/Datti). I merged them together, I funded them. Each of them has structure in 305 wards. There is Basil Maduka Movement, there is Restoration Agenda. All these people have structures in 305 wards. So you can imagine who owns the party in Imo. Yes! Supreme Court has taken its decision. It is these crowds which will determine who wins the governorship of Imo state.
What was the role Peter Obi played in this crisis and categorically tell us, are you working for Labour Party in Imo in the coming gubernatorial election?
As we speak, the Supreme Court matter just ended and I have addressed all my supporters on Saturday. I called all the unit heads, the 55 support groups, Basil Maduka Movements and the State Exco. I addressed them on Saturday. That was my first outing because election is some days ahead. Again as you said, our principal, Mr. Peter Obi, our presidential candidate, I followed him during his campaign and in his own wisdom, when the matter was in court, he said anyhow the party goes, he’s going to support whoever. But as at that time, Senator Achonu’s name was already with INEC, not yet removed.
So he came and flagged off the campaign because a party must produce a candidate. Since the Supreme Court has ended it, we have a candidate, definitely our candidate will fly.
Will you support the candidate?
Yes. As at Friday and Saturday, we had our meetings, when I called everybody that the Supreme Court was over and I had to tell them this is the way everything played out. That everyone should remain steadfast and our party is the party to beat in Imo. That I’m going to call you again to give all of you direction. I will now ask our candidate, how far are you doing, what kind of support?
Is it financial support or the entire crowd because our party must win, our party in Imo must win because I have invested a lot. Where will I go? which other party? Our party, Labour Party, must win.
Going by the legal battle that has threatened to rattle your party in Imo state, what are the chances of your party winning this election?
I think I had the major followers because when I left PDP, I collapsed almost 60% of PDP to the Labour Party. They are trying to hear from me. I’ve shown you the number of followers I have. The party doesn’t have any matter again. We are no more in court, the party is no more in court. So we have a candidate today, Senator Athan Achonu.
Are you not threatened by the leadership of Governor Hope Uzodinma?
Imo state is not APC state and they know the person they followed, Sir Basil Maduka. Gentleman, all the entire structure, this party must win. That’s the only thing they need from me. The first outing I had was that Saturday telling them how everything went. Yes, the incumbent is there, but what has the incumbent done? Moreover, his (Uzodimma) zone has been in power for over 20 years. Orlu zone has been in power for 20 years. Owerri zone and Okigwe are being marginalised. Okigwe did only a tenure, during the time of Ohakim. That is where Senator Achonu comes from. They had only one chance. Owerri zone did only seven months when Hon. Emeka Ihedioha had only seven months. So the Imolites today are asking for power from the Owerri Zone or Okigwe. And our candidate who is from Okigwe stands a better chance. Giving the incumbent another opportunity — 24 years, that’s the biggest cheat.
So, what is your party doing to mobilise voters to come out to cast their votes?
Well, at least we are back to base now and we will do everything possible to make sure that our party wins this election because all this while we were in court. But the court has settled the dissatisfaction between us. The Supreme Court has taken a decision, therefore we have to reclaim our mandate and that’s what we are going to do in this election. So I will advise our people to make sure that they come out en masse and vote for the Labour Party.
APC Hails Uzodimma, Ododo On Election Victory, Commends INEC
The All Progressives Congress has congratulated its governorship candidates in Imo and Kogi states, Hope Uzodimma and Usman Ododo, respectively, on their victory at last Saturday’s election.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, revealed this in a statement signed on Monday, November 13.
The statement read, “The All Progressives Congress congratulates His Excellency, Hope Uzodimma, on his re-election as Executive Governor of Imo State, and Usman Ododo on his emergence as Governor of Kogi State.
“The landslide victories of both Governor Uzodinma and Ododo at the just-concluded gubernatorial polls attest to the exceptional performance of the APC-led administrations in both states and resonated loudly with voters.
“We are confident that Governor Uzodimma will consolidate and extend the impressive accomplishments of his first term in Imo State, while Usman Ododo, on his part, will build on the solid record of the outgoing APC-administration in Kogi State.
“We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies for professionally discharging their constitutional duties during the election in both states.
“We salute the Imo and Kogi electorate for their invaluable and massive support of our great party.”
Breaking News! IMO DECIDES: Hope Uzodinma Steps Down For Anyanwu, Looses Presidential Support
Gov. Hope Uzodinma has stepped down for SamDaddy Anyanwu as he could not garner support from Mr. President, Bola President Tinubu.
Ahead of the November 11th governorship election, the All progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, has stepped down for Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu, also known as SAMDADDY, as he could not garner a nod and/or any iota of support from Mr. President, Bola Tinubu.
recall that during the presidential primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2022, Gov. Hope Uzodinma personally purchased the #100m nomination form for Ahmed Lawan, the former Senate President, who got the support of the National Chairman of All progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.
Our investigation revealed that the embattled Gov. Hope Uzodinma, for over two months now, has been restless trying ferret and/or fetch the attention of Mr. President to help him clutch at his re-election ambition by directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agents to lend him cooperations to rig off the upcoming governorship election but Mr. President insisted while maintaining that he would not interfere in the said Imo election.
Standing on his firm resolve, Mr. President promised that there would be fair play, free and/or unhindered participations in the said upcoming polls in Imo State to all the parties and their candidates without any interference and/or undue favouritism and/or supportations of any kind of from the security agents: military, police, etc as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In fact, it’s gathered, from inside Aso Rock, that Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would not want Gov. Hope Uzodinma to be re-elected to quell and/or douse the burning fires of insecurity in the State.
Political analysts as well as some political high-fliers both in Imo State and in Nigeria, including elsewhere, have interpreted Mr. President’s position as a payback in Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s coin for the socio-political betrayal or sabotage from Gov. Hope Uzodinma against Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during the days in “wilderness” at All Progressives Congress’ (APC’) primary in 2022.
On Thursday, the 9th day of November, 2023, after all efforts made by Gov. Hope Uzodinma to obtain Mr. President’s support dashed away or proved abortive, unfortunately, the said embattled Imo State governor, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, has informed his loyalists and his few myopic supporters in the State that his guber aspiration and/or project was unsure and visibly in confusing jeopardy as his sordid plans to use the military, police and Ebube Agu security to rig the said election has been shattered as the Presidency has directed the disbandment of Ebube Agu secret militia and redeployment of Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, whom Gov. Hope Uzodinma had already but heavily sorted with millions of Naira and Dollars.
Inside information indicates that Gov. Hope Uzodinma has been directed by the Presidency to work together with the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) Candidate, Sen Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu, (SAMDADDY), to save himself from pepertual socio-political condemnation and/or being disgraced by probe.
In compliance with the above, Gov. Hope Uzodinma has directed his loyalists and/or supporters to mobilize and support the candidature of Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu (SamDaddy) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and vote for him come Saturday, the 11th November, 2023 governorship election in Imo State.
Afenifere: Fasoranti Differs With Adebanjo On S-Court Verdict
FORMER Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, yesterday, disagreed with the leader of the group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, over the Supreme Court verdict that affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s victory during the February 25, 2023 general election.
Pa Adebanjo and other Afenifere leaders had met in Isanya Ogbo area of Ijebu in Ogun State, and faulted the Supreme Court verdict, which affirmed the victory of President Tinubu.
They said that the judgement has rendered the billions of naira expended on electoral reform, a waste.
But, in a counter-reaction, Pa Fasoranti, in a statement, disowned Adebanjo’s position on the Supreme Court judgement.
Fasoranti said: “The attention of Chief Reuben Fasoranti and other leaders has been drawn to a communique purportedly released in the name of Afenifere by the General Secretary, Chief Sola Ebiseni, where Afenifere is said to fault the Supreme Court judgement upholding Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s election as the President of Nigeria.
“This is far from the truth about Afenifere’s leadership position on the matter.
“Let it be on record that Chief Fasoranti and other Afenifere leaders are not privy to such ignominious press release, did not authorise it and do not subscribe to the seditious act such may portend.
“It is merely an unfortunate misadventure of some Labour Party elements within the Afenifere fold who would rather drag the body’s reputation in the mud to achieve whatever sinister and seditious end they might have concocted.
“The world will recall that Chief Fasoranti had congratulated the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on his election into office, and also expressed solidarity over his victory at the apex court.
“It is then clearly underhanded and mischievous to have such preposterous attack on the judiciary by intemperate elements within the fold, fanning the embers of national discords with political motives, using the name of Afenifere.
“We are unequivocal in reiterating that Pa Ayo Adebanjo is the Acting Leader, who, in the natural and traditional order of Afenifere, is expected to defer to his leader who appointed him, Chief Fasoranti, without reservations.
“To do otherwise is to tread such ignoble path in national discourse as this unfortunate release reveals.
“The meeting recently held in Ogbo Ijebu, at no point raised or decided on the attack on the judiciary as the statements of the General Secretary seemed to portray.
“The leaders of Afenifere would like to challenge Chief Ebiseni to offer the world, the true record of deliberations at the said meeting to confirm its concurrence with the communique he so released to the world.
“The ethos and structure of Afenifere vest the leadership authority in the Leader as the Olori Ebi; until such time that he joins his forebears, notwithstanding whoever he has chosen to act on his behalf.