Confusion has broken out in Labour Party over whether or not its October 11 national convention should hold in Akure, the Ondo State following the defection of the governor, Olusegun Mimiko, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
While some members of the party are canvassing a rescheduling of the convention elsewhere, the party leadership says the event will go ahead as planned because it still has members in the state.
Mr. Mimiko, the lone governor of the LP formally announced his defection to the PDP last Thursday after several denials of his plan to do so.
The governor said he was leaving the LP with officials of his administration as well as federal and state lawmakers, who are members of the party.
He had caused anxiety in the party in August following media reports that he had concluded plan to leave the party.
However, Mr. Mimiko showed up at the party’s NEC meeting in Abuja early last month where he said reports about his plan to return to the PDP, his former party, were a “rumour”.
At the meeting, the NEC also resolved to hold its convention in Akure on October 11 during which a new national leadership of the party would be elected.
A group, Labour Party Restoration Group, LPRG, in a statement on Sunday, asked members of the party to disregard any invitation to attend the Akure NEC meeting.
The statement, which was also sent to PREMIUM TIMES said, “Disregard any SMS inviting you to Akure for NWC, NEC and national convention.
“A PDP governor cannot host LP convention. LP is not (an) extension of PDP. If Mimiko loves LP so much, why did he decamp?’
The group also asked the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, to provide the party with another venue for the convention.
However, speaking during a phone in programme “Politics Today” on Channels Television on Sunday night, the outgoing National Chairman of the LP, Dan Nwanyanwu, said the party would go ahead with the convention in Akure despite Mr. Mimiko’s defection.
“That (changing the venue) is the sole responsibility of NEC. Last month, it took a decision to hold the convention in Akure. Some people argue that since Mimiko has left the party should move the convention. The convention will hold in Akure. Dan Nwanyanwu cannot change it,” he said.
On the defection of Mr. Mimiko to the PDP, Mr. Nwanyanwu explained that the decision was entirely that of the governor, noting that the party did not have any disagreement with him to warrant the action.
He said, “From my point of view, the decision of Mimiko to move is entirely his. He is not in disagreement with the party or the leadership of the party. We had a warm relationship and we have to respect his decision.
“I speak for myself in this regard. In a few days’ time, we will have our convention and I will leave as the national chairman. So I do not want to make a binding statement for a party whose leadership I will soon relinquish. We respect his decision. He did not quarrel with us and we did not quarrel with him.”
Mr. Nwanyanwu debunked the claim that the governor left the party structure in shambles since he was the only governor it produced since its formation ten years ago.
He however said the party would take a look at the development at the convention.
“The party will look at the issue holistically at the convention. Labour Party is still strong in Ondo and in other states,” the national chairman said.
“That is not the end of the road. We formed the party in 2004 and we made one governor. We can make more governors. Let us not speak as if it is the end of the road.
“One of the rules of this game is that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You don’t win all the time. APC lost Ekiti; APC win in Osun. Things can change. You don’t speak as if you must win all the time.”