Reports reaching Africa Today News, New York has it that the Labour Party’s leadership has issued a statement dismissing any involvement with the activities of Fabian Ihekweme, the Imo State Coordinator for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation.
In a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, the party’s national publicity secretary Arabambi Abayomi accused the controversial state chairman of the Obi-Datti Campaign Organization of indulging in ‘clandestine conspiracy and fraudulent activities’.
Meanwhile, Ihekweme has already refuted the accusation, which he claimed was leveled by some party officials.
Ihekweme was charged with serial fraud by Abayomi for allegedly procuring funds from individuals under false pretenses with the express intention of sabotaging the party’s win in the general elections of 2023.
The message read in parts, ‘Our attention has once again been drawn to a very clear act of fraudulent activities of one Fabian Ihekweme, the illegal Imo State Chairman of Peter Obi/Datti presidential campaign council through a committed, deliberate and conscious mission to run Labour Party into a complicated set of sectoral and serial fraud through obtaining money under false pretext with the sole objective of compromising Labour party victory in the 2023 general election.’
‘This is once again malicious and bizarre antics of Fabian Ihekweme in his quest to keep deceiving the public through a fraudulent collection of donations from unsuspecting members of the public”
‘His provocative and highly contemptuous press statement addressed to media organizations would have been ignored with its puerile contents but for the fact that silence is thought to mean consent in all ramifications.’
However, Ihekweme’s Imo State platform, which is constitutionally supposed to take orders but is autonomously processing beyond the constitutional control of the party, has drawn criticism from the Labour Party’s image maker for the way it is being managed.
In his reaction, the Labour Party continues to be the sole arbiter of all matters pertaining to the procedures involved in the campaign for its duly elected candidates.
‘Fabian in his very pitiful and totally arrogant, ignorant and pedestrian understanding of the constitution failed in his attempt to bring the party to some silly ridicule by making wrong claims that a candidate is free to independently set up a campaign team, free from the political party that presented him as a candidate.’’
‘‘This and many primitive insinuations fuelled by ignorance were expressed in his so sinfully anti-Party misdemeanor of a state. He didn’t even stop at the foregoing as he went ahead to hand out threats to the leadership of the party.’’
‘Furthermore, National Chairman of Labour Party, Barr Julius Abure, has declared that any further deliberate and criminally inclined infraction by anyone or group of people that in any way invite ridicule to the Party and its goodwill shall be reported to the office of the Inspector General of the Police and of course.’’
‘This is not limited to Fabian Ihekweme because criminal conducts as exemplifies by the Imo State impersonator thinking he is better placed or superior to the National Chairman and the NWC is not only highly disrespectful with gross insubordination but any further occurrence will leave the party with no option than to order the arrest of the perpetrators,’ he said.
Ihekweme swiftly responded by defending himself in another statement released the same day, claiming the allegations were baseless.
Ihekweme appealed to the party leadership to stop trying to discredit their presidential candidate. He claimed that Prof. Pat Utomi, another senior member of the party, legitimately launched the Imo campaign council.
He said, ‘It is important to put the records straight at this stage to avoid widespread misconceptions and wrong notions. On behalf of the Imo state Presidential Campaign Council for Peter Obi-Ahmed Datti, it is my singular honor to make the following clarifications with the view of strengthening our campaign and also to purge and disabuse the minds of our reading public on the false insinuations by a few detractors and disobedient elements who are direct beneficiaries of the current failed leadership and now trying to hide under the striking names of Peter Obi and Ahmed Datti to advance their own selfish political interests and advantages.’’
‘I have refused to be dragged into this unnecessary and unwarranted supremacy battle with Imo LP leadership which claims to be acting on a directive from the National Secretariat of the Party to disown the constitution and inauguration of the Imo State Presidential Campaign Council.’
‘We have evidently raised the bar of our campaign in Imo state to a new and enviable height. We do not need any distractions at this point in time. There is no debate about the fact that there is no conflict of interest between the party administration and campaign council in any flourishing democracy anywhere in the world.’
‘It is the prerogative of a nominated candidate of a political party to set up his or her own campaign team. The party sometimes plays little or no role when it comes to the determination of the key actors in any campaign council at any level.’
‘I do not want to believe that opposition elements have infiltrated and penetrated certain persons within the rank and file of LP both at the state and National levels.’
‘As the State Coordinator for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council Imo, I hereby plead with the leadership of Labour Party and critical stakeholders at all levels to please desist from demarketing Peter Obi in Imo state.’
Apparently, the Labour Party doesn’t want to be associated with any activity that would taint it’s reputation like the alleged case of Fabian Ihekweme.