Athan Achonu (Photo: Cabletv)
. Ogunewe nsists: ‘I am the authentic winner’
‘I don’t want to take sides on the result of the primaries. But as the chairman, my duty is to unite the party’
By Valentine Amanze
Crisis is brewing in Labour Party (LP) in Imo State, as alleged irregularities during the governorship primaries threaten to tier the party apart.
One of the contestants of the party’s governorship primary election, Major General, LKJ Ogunewe, alleged that he lost because the exercise was hijacked by “fake delegates.”
In fact, Ogunewe, who insisted that he won the election at Landmark Events Centre, Owerri, on Saturday April 15, 2023, alleged that he was robbed of victory by the party’s council chairmen, whom he alleged, brought in fake delegates.
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In a statement issued on April 17, 2023, Ogunewe insisted that he would reclaim his mandate through the party’s appropriate channel.
But a party member, who witnessed the exercise, which was supervised by the Abia State governorship-elect, His Excellency, Dr Alex Otti, told Nigeria News Flight on condition of anonymity that it was free and fair.
The source said that though his preferred candidate, Ogunewe, lost the ticket, it was obvious that the winner, Senator Athan Achonu, used his vast experience in the game to defeat his opponents.
When contacted, the party state chairman, Prof Aloy Awuzie, said that he was the leader of the party in Imo State, stressing that his duty was to always unite LP.
His words: “I don’t want to take sides on the result of the primaries. But as the chairman, my duty is to unite the party.”
Awuzie also disclosed that the party members were having series of meetings to move the party forward in the state.
But, the winner of the exercise, Senator Athan Achonu, could not repond to the Nigeria News Flight enquiries even though he asked to send them to him via SMS.
Achonu, who was declared winner of the ticket, scored 134 votes to defeat Ogunewe, who came second, with 121 votes.
It would be recalled that top Labour Party chieftains such as Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, the former governorship candidate in Anambra State, witnessed the primaries.
Besides, sources in Owerri are worried whether Achonu has the capacity to upstage the incumbent governor, Chief Hope Uzodimma, with the government machinery including all the security apparatus behind him.