The embarrassing disintegration of the Labour Party’s presidential campaign has continued following news that the party’s replacement for Doyin Okupe, its disgraced director-general who was forced to resign after he was criminally convicted for joining in the diversion of arms fund, is standing election as the senatorial candidate of the Zenith Labour Party in Ekiti State.
The party announced the choice of Akin Osuntokun, equally a former PDP operative, earlier this week after Okupe’s forced exit. But checks have revealed that Mr Osuntokun remains a member of the Zenith Labour Party and is the party’s senatorial candidate for Ekiti Central in the coming election.
The discovery has raised legal questions on the validity of his choice, while also renewing doubts about the Labour Party’s preparedness to run a presidential campaign after a series of similar gaffes and brow-raising decisions.
Osuntokun’s questionable appointment is only the latest in the series of ethical and legal issues that have plagued the Labour Party. The party has struggled to account for donations sourced from the public for campaigns after Okupe, the former DG, came under allegations of stealing over N20m in party funds and the presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was accused by some members of settling Okupe’s fine after his criminal conviction with unapproved party funds.
Many Nigerians have criticized Obi’s penchant for illegality, among them Okoi Obono Obla, an ex-presidential aide, who deemed Osuntokun’s appointment as a sign that the Labour Party is not committed to its message of change.
“The final list of candidates for senatorial candidates for the 23 February 2023 National Assembly election starkly reveals that Osuntokun Olusola Akintola (Akin Osuntokun) is the Zenith Labour Party ( ZPL) candidate for Ekiti State Central Senatorial District,” he said.
“There is nothing to show that Akin Osuntokun has withdrawn his candidacy.”
“I was therefore flummoxed when Labour Party announced Akin Osuntokun as the Director General of Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Organization to replace Dr. Doyin Okupe.”
“What an illegality and bundle of confusion and contradictions coming from the Labour Party that has been pontificating about change in Nigeria.”