The Labour Party has said the guideline for the Edo State Governorship Primaries released recently as approved by its National leadership is in line with the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act and especially the Labour Party constitution.
The party stated that the guideline has widened the scope of participation of its members who will now have one role or the other to play in the emergence of the party’s candidate.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh.
The statement read in part, “It is consequent upon these, that all members of the party from the Ward will be nominating two delegates each who will converge in their various Local Governments to nominate five delegates each that will participate in the primary election scheduled to hold on February 22, 2024 that will produce a candidate for the party.
“Article 27 of the party’s Constitution gives the leadership of the party the power to make rules and guidelines for the conduct of primaries that will elect public officers. For the avoidance of doubt, Article 27 states as follows; ‘The National Executive Council of the party shall formulate guidelines and regulations for nomination of candidates for election into public offices at all levels subject to the provisions of this constitution.’
“That same Article 27:3 provides that the Nomination of the aspirants for the office of the governor shall be by the state Congress. It therefore means that it is the state Congress that has the power and responsibility to elect the governorship candidate.
“However, Article 13:5a provides for the composition for the State Congress. It must be noted that the Electoral Act 2022 as amended has abolished Statutory Delegates which has altered the composition of Congresses. The only standing position in our Party’s Constitution in Article 13:5a in Item (viii) which provides that delegates elected by the Congress of each Local Government within the state shall participate in the state Congress.
“So the guideline currently released by the leadership of the party in respect to Edo State Governorship Election falls in line with the provision of the constitution. It has most importantly widened the scope of participation of the members. It thus means that party members at the Ward will nominate two members each from each ward. These two members from the Wards will also nominate 5 members from each of the Local Governments in the state who will now qualify to elect the governorship candidate of the party at the State Congress. It therefore follows that the party has not violated the 1999 constitution, the electoral Act and also the party constitution.
“The party also deemed it necessary to make clarification on the fees of N30 million charged for both the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the Edo state governorship election. It must be noted that all factors were taking into account before the National Working Committee arrived at the figure.
“It must be noted that the cost of elections into political offices in Nigeria is quite expensive as witnessed from the recently general election. Aside being qualified to contest election, aspirants must also be ready to show capability and capacity to fund campaigns and other election requirements.
“Comparatively, the fees charged by the Labour Party is still the lowest among the three major political parties in the contest. Therefore, any person who cannot afford that fee does not have the capacity to run for the governorship election.
“Political party funding is a major challenge and it must also be noted that the sale of forms is a major source through which a political party is funded. A lot of issues that may arise as a result of primaries and election itself which has to do with litigation arising from primaries and election itself as well as other logistics issues makes it imperative for the parties to charge that much. So that the party can adequately discharge its responsibilities to the party, to the aspirants and to the candidate.
“There is also the cost of conducting the various congresses leading to the emergence of the candidate through the congresses in Wards to Local Government culminating into the party primaries.
“We are therefore calling on all our intending aspirants to make the necessary sacrifice by participating in the exercise. The party is determined to ensure a level playing field for all aspirants to ensure that a candidate emerges only through a democratic process.”