We didn’t collect N1bn to endorse Jonathan —LP

By ohn Alechenu on May, 7 2015

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In this interview with JOHN ALECHENU, National Secretary of the Labour Party, Kayode Ajulo, speaks about the allegation that the party received N100m to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan in the general elections, among sundry issues

There is the news making the rounds that your party collected N100m to endorse Jonathan for the 2015 election.

Let me start by saying that this controversy has vindicated the Labour Party in the sense that immediately after endorsing the President, a lot of rumours began to go round. Some people said we were given N300m, some said N1bn and some even said $1bn; as I speak with you as a lawyer – on my honour – and I am sure because I have a good rapport and a good relationship with our party chairman, I am not aware that any money exchanged hands between the Presidency and my party. As the national secretary of the party, I am the number two person in the party hierarchy by order of protocol. No money exchanged hands between my chairman and the party. We have been vindicated. I did not receive any money from anybody. I challenge anybody who gave me or the party any amount of money to come out and say I gave Kayode Ajulo money for the election. Even when the allegation that a presidential aide was given money for our party came up, we read it in the papers like everybody else. I called my chairman and we held a meeting and resolved to get to the bottom of it. We are still trying to get where the whole thing is coming from. We, as members of the Labour Party, condemn inducement of any party. Whatever is to be given to the party must be in tandem with the Electoral Act.

The APC recently asked members of the PDP to remain in their party, saying that mass defection will rob the country of a formidable opposition.

This is clearly a violation of the constitution. We are all aware when they (APC) applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission for registration. One of the conditions you have to meet before you are registered is that you have to subscribe to all the provisions of the constitution. In fact, every Nigerian political party is a product of the constitution and part of your undertaking is that you subscribe to the provisions of the constitution. For you to now start threatening to shut your door against people is a complete violation of that provision. A political party is not the property of any individual and that is why you have INEC regulating you. Everybody has a right of ingress and egress with certain conditions. You cannot say because somebody is coming today you want to shut your door. It is when a person misbehaves or violates some of your rules and regulations after becoming a member that you can now show them the way out either by suspension or expulsion – depending on the gravity of the offence. To now use a blanket cover to block some people, I think the party has overreached itself.

Are you then encouraging people to dump their parties and join the incoming ruling party?

I am not canvassing for anybody to go to the APC. We have a formidable opposition party, the Labour Party. We want those people who subscribe to our tenets and ideology to come into our party. In Nigeria today, the Labour Party is the only political party with an ideology. This is an ideology that has been tested for over 10 decades. It’s this simple; we talk of equal opportunity and social justice. But we are not even saying that we are interested in joining the APC. It is quite unfortunate for you to see people within a twinkle of an eye quickly rush to another party. The question is, what are they looking for? What to eat? This is the bane of our politicians. Our politicians will never, never be ready to sit down to work and build a party. What we even need to condemn is this trend where individuals who get elected on the platform of a political party dump the party to join another one as soon as they are inaugurated. It is even now so ridiculous that within 24 hours after the just concluded elections, two senators who won their re-elections have dumped their party to join another party. This is wrong.

All political parties need to condemn this attitude because it is unhealthy for our democracy. Besides, we have a constitution that says you cannot leave your political party; that if you want to leave, you must relinquish your position.

You can see what happened in Ondo State. The Supreme Court recently removed the lawmaker representing Akure federal constituency, Ifedayo Abegunde, saying that the only condition that you can leave your party is when there is a division or factions within the party. As of now, I don’t think there is any division in the PDP. So, for the APC to say that is very unfortunate and we must all rise up to condemn it.

Source: Punch News


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