Scores of voters in Lagos State have expressed dismay over the omission of the Labour Party (LP) logo on some ballot papers in some Polling Units in Lagos State. It was gathered that this affected ballot papers for Senate and House of Representative candidates. The omission forced many to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide answers based on the argument that the Labour Party logo appeared in previous elections.
While reacting to the omission in a post on Twitter, Pat Utomi, a former presidential candidate, said that his phone had been busy with calls over the omission. According to his words; “My phones are almost blowing up with angry voters who cannot see where to vote for Labour Party candidates for Senate. I have been appealing for calm but the people are determined to vote Labour Party all the way,’’ Pat Utomi wrote on his Twitter page.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that the omission may have been due to the inability of the party in the state to provide its list of candidates to INEC. Recall that in the month of September 2022, the Lagos State Chairman of the Labour Party, Olukayode Salako, revealed the reason behind the omission of their senatorial and House of Representatives candidates on the final list of candidates for the 2023 general elections by INEC.
According to Salako, the party’s candidates were omitted from the list because a former chairman of the party, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, did not submit them to INEC at the appropriate time. Salako however noted that due to the fact that Awamaridi presented the names to INEC late when the window had closed, the party was considering the court option.
‘‘We will soon have the names of our candidates in the process. It is through the courts that our candidates will be uploaded (on INEC’s website),’’ he noted. For the fact Labour Party did not get its way in court, reason its Senate and House of Representative candidates were omitted from the ballot papers in Lagos State.
Also in Kogi State the Labour Party’s logo is missing. The logo of Labour Party is missing on the ballot paper for the Kogi West senatorial elections. Although the logos of the 18 registered political parties including the Labour Party are on the ballot papers for the presidential election, our correspondent observed that only eight parties are duly represented on the ballot for the senatorial election.
The parties are the Accord party, the African Democratic Congress, All Progressives Congress, New Nigeria’s Peoples Party, National Rescue Movement, Peoples Democratic Party and the Zenith Labour Party. So far, elections are going on peacefully in the majority of the polling units in Lokoja, Kogi State.
Also in Ondo State the Labour Party’s logo is missing. The Nigeria Labour Party has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission to postpone the upper and lower chamber election in Ondo state until the needful is done. The Party says it remains undeterred as it urges its esteemed supporters to remain focused and stay away from unnecessary distraction, it will lawfully pursue the course until victory is ascertained.
According to Labour Party, its logo was deliberately omitted in the ballot paper sent to Ondo State for the Senate and House of Representative election just to disenfranchise its supporters. The deliberate act by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is aimed at disenfranchising us.
On the 22nd of February 2023, Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to accept the nomination of candidates of the Labour Party in 24 States. The court further ordered that the commission must accept the list of senatorial and House of Representatives candidates particularly in Ondo State, either manually or through its electronic nomination portal.
Sadly, if an umpire could commit such an embarrassing gaffe, it is a testament to the calls by concerned Nigerians over INEC’s honesty in the February 25 general election.
Also in Edo State the Labour Party’s logo is missing. There was tension at Edo central on Saturday during the presidential and national assembly elections, following the omission of the logo of the Labour Party (LP) for the House of Representatives in Esan Central/Esan West/Igueben Federal Constituency.
The Rep election had to be put on hold, following agitation by some angry voters who openly condemned the move as an attempt to manipulate the election. Although the electorate arrived early at their respective polling centers, but the absence of Labour Party logo on the ballot paper delayed the commencement of the election.
When contacted for reaction, the INEC spokesperson in Edo state, Timidi Wariowei simply said: “The Honorable REC will address that issue.” Meanwhile, reports had it that suspected thugs allegedly disrupt elections in ward 11, Owan East local government area, where voting commenced by 8.30 am.
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