.Obi best among presidential candidates — Labour
.Says workers’ll take their destinies in own hands
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
Presidential candidate of New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has said his party was offering “a golden opportunity” to Peter Obi, standard-bearer of Labour Party, LP, to be his running mate.
Kwankwaso, who stated this after inaugurating the state office of the NNPP in Gombe State, said if he became the running mate to Obi, the NNPP would collapse.
However, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, insisted, yesterday, that Obi remained the best among all the presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections, saying workers would take their destinies in their hands by mobilising for the LP candidate.
But Kwankwaso insisted that the South-East would miss a golden opportunity, if the LP candidate was not his running mate in 2023.
He said: “From the discussion with the Labour Party, the main issue was who becomes the president if the parties merge. At the end of the day, some of our representatives thought that there should be a criteria in terms of age, qualification, offices held, performance and so on.
“Of course, the other side wouldn’t want that. Most of the people from there believe that the presidency has to go there. If I decide to be a vice presidential candidate for anybody in this country, NNPP will collapse, because the party is based on what we have built in the last 30 years.
“I served for 17 years as a civil servant; we are talking of 47 years of very serious hard work that is what is rarely holding NNPP now.
“Even if my friend (Peter Obi) wants to accept the vice presidential candidate, some people in the South-East will not accept, that is not strategic. This is a golden opportunity, if they lose it, it will be a disaster.”
Obi best among presidential candidates — Labour
Meanwhile, organised labour has described the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, as the finest among those aspiring to be the next president of the country.
General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Emma Ugboaja, who stated this in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday, said the two labour centres, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, were together in the resolve to save the country.
He said: “Workers have decided to take their destiny in their hands and they have checked all round and came to the conclusion that the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, is among the finest the country has ever produced. So it is not a question of unknown quantity, he has antecedents.
“His antecedents sit squarely well with what our aspirations were, to have our workers engaged, to have the unemployed engaged, for justice to come into play and to ensure the redistribution of the wealth of our country and turn it into the wealth of everybody rather than the wealth of a few.
“In our deliberations, there was single-mindedness and unanimity that the way forward is to really reestablish the Labour Party which, of course, is a creation of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the working people of Nigeria. So there is always a time and a season. The moment has met the labour movement in Nigeria and there is no going back.”
Speaking on critic’s claims that Obi had no structure and that Labour Party was not prepared to win the 2023 election, the NLC scribe said the party could have been said to be unprepared when the labour movement in Nigeria was taking the back seat and it is an open secret that they were operating without the blessings of the two labour centres in Nigeria.”
“Now, the Labour Party is operating with the blessings of the two Labour centres, you can’t be more prepared than that, you can’t be more prepared than the people that have struggled over the years to engage government on key existential issues that have still not been addressed.
“Is it security? Is it production of petroleum products? Is it minimum wage or certainty of our manufacturing process? You cannot be more prepared than a man who has yearned and argued for a decent engagement and now has the platform to express that.’’
On the point being raised that the labour centres should not engage in partisan politics, Ugboaja said Labour had a written position on that “people can’t change the goal post, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has decided on that matter, so anybody saying that should be talking from the barracks and we are no more in the military regime.
‘’We are in a civilian democracy and the highest court of the land has ruled on the matter and as far as we are concerned, we stand on the rule of law.”
Ugboaja further dismissed the idea of the party being embroiled in intra-party crisis, describing it as a non-issue.
He said: “There is no crisis in Labour Party. Like I told you, labour party is our creation, the only crisis we had in the party was the two Labour centres not having confidence in operations of the Labour Party but that has been reconciled.
“We now have an understanding and a written agreement. Anybody still talking about crisis in the Labour Party is just a pigment of his imagination.”
He said currently, there was no disagreement among the key stakeholders on the resolve to seek for the presidency of the country in 2023.