Comrade Gbenga Komolafe, a social activist, and General Secretary, Federation of Informal Workers’ Organisations of Nigeria (FIWON) has alleged that Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party paid millions of naira to ‘buy’ the party’s ticket.
In May, Obi joined LP, hours after announcing his resignation as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obi was the vice-presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general elections.
He said his decision to join LP aligns with the interest of Nigerians across different sectors, adding that he wants to take the country from being a consuming nation to producing nation.
“Therefore, I have chosen a route that I consider to be in line with our aspirations and my mantra of taking the country from consumption to production; and that is the Labour Party which is synonymous with the people, workers, development, production, securing and uniting Nigerians as one family,” Obi had said.
A few days after, he was declared the winner of the party’s presidential primary.
Pat Utomi, a Professor of Political Economy, Eragbe Anselm, National Youth Leader of LP, as well as Olubusola Olufolake were said to have stepped down for him.
Before then, a faction of the party led by Mr Calistus Okafor had elected a presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
However, Komolafe alleged Obi paid millions of naira to ‘settle’ some of the other aspirants like Okafor, saying the information was reliably gathered from inside the party.
The activist described the former Anambra governor as a mainstream politician whom he said was not different from the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and that of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
He said, “Obi paid millions of naira to Labour Party leadership and equally settled other aspirants like the Callistus guy who, with some legitimacy, questioned the credibility of the so-called interim chair of LP who is the greatest beneficiary of the PO (Peter Obi) Bazar.
“Obi is fundamentally a mainstream politician. He’s not different in any serious sense from a Tinubu or Atiku. But Nigerians have been trapped in a plutocracy. Politics of the criminal rich. Within that context, most Nigerians are incapable of seeing any other candidate except the very visible, traditional ones.
“The LP affiliation with trade unions gives a little veneer of difference from the APC/PDP but unfortunately the enormous potential of the LP evolving as a true workers’ party has been crippled even before the race started, not only because of their fawning, unprincipled embrace of an Obi without building a programmatic mass base but also because of their determination to simply exploit the current situation for their own individual benefit.
“After all, most NLC leaders remain APC. Maybe, in the long run, the LP will still be able to fulfil its historical destiny as a party of working people but for now, it has lost its unique advantages. Mark this, Obi will most likely lose next year’s election to one of the dominant parties for some reasons.
“The logic of political mobilization remains monetized. Obi is part of this tradition and the labour aristos are only exploiting this to make money for themselves rather than build a mass base for the LP and possibly strike strategic alliances with other progressive formations like AAC (African Action Congress). Given this reality, APC/PDP will easily outspend Obi and the dreamers supporting him.
All the social media noise around Obi is mostly in the air. On-ground support is based on mostly ethno religious, ‘it is our turn’ emotive sentiments. This can’t go far because it can’t demographically challenge the traditional Northern voting blocs which always come tops with this kind of politics.
“Without a conscious radical political mobilization of the working people around a mass movement that is demonstrably counter-establishment as we know it, spurious, ungrounded, monetized, ethno religious political mobilization crystallizing around Obi right now will eventually crumble. It still remains, ‘the only way, the hard way’ for genuine change seekers.”