By Usman Aliyu
The Labour Party (LP) in the Orhiomnwon/Uhunmwode Federal Constituency of Edo on Saturday rejected the purported substitution of its candidate, Murphy Imasuen with a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Elizabeth Ativie.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had earlier reported that Ativie, the first female speaker in the state announced her resignation from the All Progressives Congress (APC), without a definite answer on her next political move.
But the leadership of the constituency at a press briefing in Benin City, said it got wind of the ongoing plan to short change the party’s candidate, Imasuen, who was duly elected in Abudu Orhiomnwon on July 13.
To address the news conference, Mr Ken Omusi, the state youth leader of the LP was joined by Orhiakhi Osaigbovo and Austin Oronsaye, party’s local government chairmen for Orhiomnwon and Uhunmwode respectively.
Omusi called on the national and state leadership to advise the former speaker not to parade herself as the party’s candidate for the federal constituency Election.
According to him, Imasuen is duly given the ticket to run for Orhiomnwon/Uhunmwode federal constituency during the substitution primaries held in Abudu on July 13.
“It has come to our notice that the duly elected candidate representing Orhiomnwon/Uhunmwode federal constituency, Hon Murphy Imasuen’s name was recently removed from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) list in Abuja and replaced with Hon Elizabeth Ativie.
“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.
“We boldly say without fear or favour, we will not accept any other candidate except the candidate who participated in the process and guidelines recognized by INEC.
“We demand that Elizabeth Ativie be called to order to stop parading herself as the candidate for Orhiomnwon/Uhunmwode federal constituency, an act which is impersonating and also capable of sending her to jail”, he said.
The party leader described the process as undemocratic that would be aggressively rejected by the members.
He thereby called on the security agencies to call the former speaker to order as her action was capable of breaching the already existing peace in the state.
Reacting to the allegation, Ativie said she had been a member of Labour Party prior to the 2007 General elections where she was a state executive member of the party in the state.
She said she left the party to the defunct Action Congress to support the political aspiration of the former governor of the State Adams Oshiomhole.
She disclosed that, she had since registered and rejoin the party in May before her official resignation from the APC.
“I have always been a member of Labour Party by my profession as a nurse. I have been to the national leadership of the party, state chairman who handed to me a membership card”, she added.
She, however, denied any knowledge of name substitution, noting that only INEC could confirm that.
The former speaker urged party members to exercise patience and wait for the final release of candidates’ list before raising unfounded and unnecessary alarm.
She added that the conveners of the news conference were being sponsored by those afraid of the party.