Osuntokun remains ZLP senatorial candidate, withdrawal period has ended— INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Akin Osuntokun, director-general of the Labour Party (LP) presidential campaign council, remains a Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) senatorial candidate.

 

Osuntokun was announced as the LP campaign DG on Tuesday, taking over from Doyin Okupe who resigned after he was convicted of breaching the Money Laundering Act.

 

Osuntokun was also listed by INEC as the candidate of the ZLP for Ekiti central senatorial district.

 

In a recent interview on Politics Today, a programme on Channels Television, Osuntokun said he has “abandoned” his senatorial ambition, adding that his position as the LP campaign DG is a “higher calling”.

 

Speaking on Friday, Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner for information, said Osuntokun remains the ZLP senatorial candidate as the period for withdrawal and substitution of candidates had passed.

 

According to INEC’s timetable for the 2023 elections, July 15 was the last day for the withdrawal and substitution of candidates by political parties for presidential and national assembly elections.

 

“He remains the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party. The window for withdraw and substitution based on our timetable and the electoral act 2022 has closed. No candidate can withdraw, and none can come in except through a court order,” Okoye said.

 

On the legality of the director-general’s move, Okoye said “the issue of party appointments remains within the domestic realm of the parties and the commission has nothing to do with it”.

 

ZLP: CONTROVERSY IS UNCALLED FOR

 Meanwhile, the ZLP in a statement signed by Dan Nwanyanwu, its national chairman, said Osuntokun resigned from the party in August 2022.

 

Nwanyanwu, a former Labour Party chairperson, added that the ZLP holds no grudges against him for decamping.

 

 “The controversy generated by the appointment of Mr Akin Osuntokun as the DG of H/E Peter OBI Campaign Organisation is uncalled for,” the statement reads.

 

“Akin Osuntokun resigned from the Zenith LABOUR Party since August 2022 and therefore no longer a member of our Party.

 

“Prior to his resignation from ZLP, he held the ticket as a Senatorial Candidate in Ekiti State. As at the time of his resignation, we could not replace him because the window allowed by the Electoral Act for substitution had elapsed.

 

“We hold no grudges because it is his fundamental right to associate and exit from any organization. We wish him well in his newfound greener pasture.

 

 “We believe this will put to rest the barrage of inquiries to us in this regard.”

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