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APC’s Failure Will Work In LP’ Favour In Future Election – Odesanya

The last general elections threw up some elements of surprises and one of such was the performance of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State. In this interview with OLAOLU OLADIPO, the Publicity Secretary of the party in Lagos, Mrs. Olubunmi Odesanya, talked about the feat and how the party is working to reenact it and take over the state from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Excerpts:

Your party put up an impressive performance in the last general election by doing the unthinkable, which is defeating President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos, what was responsible for that?

I dare say that the successes achieved by the party in the last general election was due to several factors. The party recorded so many successes during the election.

These successes are majorly attributed to the yearning of Nigerians for a change with regards to how they are governed by the ruling elite in the country. With regards to Lagos State, a certain party had been in power for over 24 years. Its dominance was challenged principally because shortly before the last election, Nigerians protested and called for a change in governance structure and system.

They called for change in terms of the way the security apparatus relates with them. At that time, the perception of the country in the international arena was such that if you held the Nigerian passport, you were treated as a pariah.

There were things that were largely wrong with the image of the people of the country and the country itself. Added to that, the prevailing economic outlook of the country at that material time was very bad and gloomy. I will like to state that for the first time in many years, young Nigerians rose up to the challenge of rescuing the country.

How was that, I mean the participation of young Nigerians?

Yes! Their agitations and involvement culminated in what I will call a movement. You will recall the events that took place immediately after the COVID 19 global pandemic. I am talking of what took place after the lock down of the country by the government when the pandemic occurred. I am referring you to the incidence of the #ENDSARS.

The event provided the right impetus for young Nigerians to demand good governance and accountability. It was just that the major theme of their agitation was to highlight the prevailing police brutality in the country.

They were us ing the protest against the police and other security services to protest and make the government more accountable to the citizens and ensure that they (those in government) respect basic human rights.

Unfortunately, this protest was badly managed by the party in power. Sensing the attitude of the government, the young Nigerians now resolved that this could just be the last straw likely to break the camel’s back.

How did the agitation help the Labour Party?

One of the aftermath of the protest was that when the young Nigerians were agitating, the officials in power derided them and gloated, asking ‘if you (youths) want power, then organise yourself.’ They didn’t know that they were throwing a challenge that youths themselves never took for granted.

The young Nigerians took up the challenge. Unknown to many, these young Nigerians began to organise themselves with a view to taking over power. In the end, for the first time, we saw droves of young people getting ready and preparing themselves for the election. We saw them encouraging themselves to get set for the election.

They even went to the various INEC offices to collect their voter cards. As God would have it, a few things were happening behind the scenes within the Labour Party itself with members agitating for a change across the country. They (party leaders) began to shop for credible and acceptable candidates to fly its flag in the election.

Outside the Labour Party, most Nigerians had ditched the APC and PDP by looking for a credible platform and candidate they could vote for. As it is said, ‘the rest is now history’.

These elements seeking change now populated the Labour Party and in the end, all the organs of the party and the structure began to take shape. In the end, our leader and principal, Mr. Peter Obi l, emerged as the candidate of the party for the 2023 Presidential Election.

Are you saying that the emergence of Peter Obi was a game changer for the Labour Party?

Yes! Before anyone could say anything, a kind of Tsunami was already taking place within and outside the Labour Party. After the emergence of former Governor Peter Obi, many young people who were not voting before now moved in droves into the Labour Party because of the general perception that Obi is different from other gladiators jostling for power.

They (youths) began to see the ideological difference between the Labour Party and the other major parties. They felt that our party was bringing something new and different to bear in the governance structure and system of the country. They saw our party as good and they identified with it.

Let me ask you pointedly, do you think that your party can still re-enact the 2023 feat in 2027?

I have no doubt about that at all. If you cast your mind back, you will agree with many Nigerians who argue rightly that our party won the last presidential election.

I can confidently say that the Labour Party won the last Presidential Election resoundingly. The outcome is what it is. We were rigged out and the judiciary did not even move to remedy what was discovered to be wrong.

We had hoped that the tribunal and the courts would do the right thing but in the end, we were disappointed. Now, the ruling party is still in power. Since it came back to power, the Renewed Hope has become renewed hopelessness. What we have in place is called renewed suffering by Nigerians.

Are you saying that the current government has failed?

We are not seeing the change that they promised Nigerians. Anyway, let me say that their failure will work in favour of our party in the long run.

You sound upbeat about the chances of your party but don’t you think that the current schism within your party will undermine it?

I take exception to your description that there is a schism within the party. There is nothing like that at all. What I can accept is that we have so many dissenting views and positions within our party but that can’t be said to be schism or serious disagreement. This (disagreements) are not limited to our party alone.

They exist in other spaces too. It is not limited to the Labour Party. All other major parties are patching up theirs. In any case, the only leadership in the party is that of Barrister Julius Abure who has variously been affirmed by the law courts in various rulings and judgements.

This situation in itself shows the vibrancy of the Labour Party. I know that there are some efforts by all relevant stakeholders to bring everyone on board. We are making efforts to make everyone work together for the party to achieve the change that all Nigerians are yearning for.

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