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EXCLUSIVE: How Labour Party's National Chairman Sold House Of Reps Ticket To APC Defector In Edo For Millions Of Naira, Threatened Original Winner Of Party Primary


SaharaReporters gathered that one Murphy Imasuen emerged the winner of the primary election of the federal constituency supervised by Independent National Electoral Commission officials.

A former Edo State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt Hon. Uyinmwen Ativie, paid millions of Naira to be listed as the Labour Party’s House of Representatives candidate for Uhunmwode/Orhionmwon federal constituency in Edo State, some members of the party have alleged.
SaharaReporters gathered that one Murphy Imasuen emerged the winner of the primary election of the federal constituency supervised by Independent National Electoral Commission officials.
Rather than submit the name of the elected candidate, the name of Ativie who recently joined the party from the ruling All Progressives Congress was submitted to INEC by Labour Party leadership led by its National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure.
The action is against the provisions of Section 33 of the 2022 Electoral Act which states that a political party cannot remove or substitute a candidate that emerged from a valid primary.
Whereas Section 31 of the Electoral Act only allows for substitution when a candidate dies or when he or she withdraws from the race and informs INEC in writing.
The section reads: “A candidate may withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the commission not later than 90 days to the election.”
Documents seen by SaharaReporters also showed that Ativie contested the APC primary election for the federal constituency but lost to Chief Billy Osawaru.
Her name listed by INEC is also against the new electoral law which states that it is not possible to contest in the primaries of a party, lose and try again in another party.
“Elizabeth Ativie recently resigned from the APC on the 6th day of September 2022 after losing the primary election to one Dr Billy but to the surprise of all, her name was listed by INEC as Labour Party candidate for our federal constituency.
“We had a meeting after that but to our surprise, Ativie told us there is nothing we can do. She told us that it was the National Chairman who invited her to his hotel in Abuja and offered to her the blank ticket of Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde House of Representatives, while state chairman Ugbaloi collaborated with the decision by issuing her a June 6 backdated Labour Party membership card. She also said she paid millions of Naira to get the ticket and showed us receipts of some transactions.
“All the party tier leaders and stakeholders of Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde constituency are firmly on Murphy Imasuen's side, and are vehemently and irreconcilably determined to damn every consequence and undertake litigations all the way from the lowest to the highest court of Nigeria before, during and after the oncoming 2023 general elections,” a LP member told SaharaReporters.
However, in a leaked audio obtained by SaharaReporters, Labour Party National Chairman was heard pleading with the winner of the primary election conducted by INEC, Murphy Imasuen, to forfeit the ticket to Ativie.
Abure promised Imasuen juicy offers and asked that he would be refunded with any amount he had spent on his aspiration.
His supporters were also promised different positions on the party.
Imasuen however turned down all the offers and vowed to sue the party.
Another source told SaharaReporters that the original winner of Labour Party had been under different threats from supporters of Abure and Ativie.
Meanwhile, members of the party in Orhionmwon and Uhunmwode Local Government Areas have insisted on Imasuen as its candidate for the federal constituency and not the former lawmaker, who joined the party penultimate week after abandoning her earlier party, APC.
The Labour Party in a statement jointly signed by Orhiakhi Osaigbovo, Chairman Orhionmwon; Austin Oronsaye, Chairman Uhunmwode; Ken Omusi, state youths leader and two others, denied Ativie, who claimed she is the party’s candidate for the constituency for the 2023 general elections.
“The party wishes to state that the duly elected candidate for Orhionmwon/ Uhunmwode Federal Constituency is Hon Murphy Imasuen who emerged during the substitution primaries held in Abudu, Orhionmwon Local Government Area on the 13th June 2023,” the statement read.
“We wish to state that it has come to our notice that the duly elected candidate representing Orhionmwon/ Uhunmwode Federal Constituency; Hon Murphy Imasuen was recently removed from the INEC list in Abuja and replaced by the name of Hon Elizabeth Ativie. In the interest of the party and public, we hereby state unequivocally the following:

“That Hon Murphy Imasuen was duly elected and given the ticket to run for the Orhionmwon/ Uhunmwode Federal Constituency during the substitution Primaries held in Abudu on the 13th of July 2023.
“That Hon Elizabeth Ativie at the time of the substitution primaries was unarguably absent because she was still a card-carrying member of the APC at the time.
“That Ativie who recently resigned from the APC on the 6th day of September, which is less than two weeks ago urged her teaming supporters to remain calm while assuring that in a few weeks, she would let the whole world know her next political move.
“We hereby make bold to say that we do not recognise Ativie yet as a member of the Labour Party Edo State chapter, talk more of being the House of Representative candidate for Orhionmwon/Uhunmwode Federal Constituency.
“This to us is laughable and mere propaganda; we will not allow or tolerate any attempt by Elizabeth Ativie to repeat her fraudulent act in Labour Party as seen in the press statement signed by the APC state publicity secretary, Mr Peter Igbinigie.”
They also appealed to security agencies to call Ativie to order in order to avert any breach of peace.