Peter Obi never directed us on who to vote as Speaker – Labour Party caucus

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Hon. Afam Ogene, Caucus Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives, has debunked the rumour that the Presidential candidate of the party, in the just concluded general elections, Mr Peter Obi, directed the Labour Party Members-Elect on the candidate to vote as Speaker.

This clarification was contained in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, June 6, by the Labour Party House of Representatives caucus.

Ogene described the rumour as the handiwork of Fifth Columnists, who are out to cause rancour within the ranks of the Labour Party Reps and also embarrass the party’s respected leaders, Obi, and his Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Yusuf Baba-Ahmed.

The Labour Party members-elect said, in a statement signed by Hon. Ogene, leader of the caucus, that “Nothing can be farther from the truth, as the allegation is a lie from the pit of hell,”

Hon Ogene said further in the statement, “On my honour, if Mr. Peter Obi as much as gave any such order, we would have gladly carried it out, and offer a robust defense of the decision as a Party, but in the instant case, he never did, so why the splitting of hairs?

“In fact, the insinuation that Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party(LP), is coercing Members-Elect of the House of Representatives to vote for a particular candidate in the Speakership race is a lie which is beneath contempt.

“Yes, as a Caucus, we met last night, but not at Mr. Obi’s behest. The notice of meeting was sent out by the National Chairman of Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure, and Mr. Obi was only invited as National Leader of the Party.

“After virtually all 27 Members-Elect present at the meeting had taken turns to speak, Mr. Obi, who was the first to leave because of another engagement, advised members to ensure, as much as possible, that they are united in arriving at a decision regarding who to vote for as Presiding Officers. Is this a crime, or an advise too weighty to offer?

“Even in advocating this unity of purpose, Mr. Obi never mentioned any candidate by name, only electing to remind the members-elect that Nigerians place huge expectations on the Labour Party to dare to be different, in conduct and stance on national issues.

“Everything must not be about what you can gain as individuals, but rather your place in history as you begin your sojourn in the National Assembly,” Obi had said.

“As a matter of fact, we make bold to reiterate that, not once, throughout his about 15-minute speech, did Mr. Obi mention any aspirant by name. On the contrary, he urged the members to continue talking amongst themselves, under the guidance of the National Chairman and the Caucus Leader on the issue of Speakership.

“In deed, for the records, Mr. Obi had in his first official interaction with the LP Members-Elect – soon after they collected their certificates of return in March, 2023 – urged them to decide for themselves who to vote for,” Hon. Ogene said.

In his words at the time: “You are the ones elected, so the onus rests with all of you, to interface with others to choose your leaders. As for me, several aspirants, both in the Senate and the House have been trying to reach me, but I prefer to allow you people take your fate in your own hands.”