A former Chairman of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Mr Banji Okunomo, has revealed that allegations of non-performance against the Labour Party in Ilaje were baseless as they were outbursts of a disgruntled former party member.
He was a guest on the Tuesday edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, sequel to an earlier interview with another member of the Labour Party in the Ondo State, Mr Benson Enikuomehin.
Mr Okunomo noted that he was the agent of the Labour Party in the just concluded by-election in Ilaje Local Government Area of the state, which as far as the party was concerned had been concluded based on evidences available, irrespective of INEC’s declaration that the election was inconclusive.
He said that the party was “a little taken aback yesterday when we heard Benson Enikuomehin on air appearing for the Labour Party.
“I use this opportunity to say that the Labour Party has never asked nor mandated nor authorized him to so do. What he did yesterday was for himself and for his immediate family.”
The Returning Officer for the State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko in the last governorship election, Mr Benson Enikuomehin, had been on the programme the previous day and surprisingly spoke about the Ilaje Local Government by-elections and the development challenges in the state in a manner not favourable to the Labour Party which he also belonged to.
Mr Okunomo insisted that Mr Enikuomehin was no longer a member of the Labour Party, having been purportedly caught in the web of political cross-carpeting going on in the nation’s polity. He said that he had since “withdrawn on his own” from the party.
“Our party has an etiquette, and the etiquette is that because of the nature of the fine and decent leadership of our Governor, we don’t witch hunt our members and we don’t normally do official eviction of our members, and maybe he took advantage of that.”
Although Mr Enikuomehin’s membership of the party still seems valid, Okunomo revealed that he dumped the party immediately after the House of Representatives primaries was held, because he aspired to be the Labour Party’s House of Reps candidate in the by-election but was not considered.
“He was not considered by the people, because for you to be the candidate of the party, the people must accept you, they will have to do a primary and this involves 3 state constituencies.”
The issues of developmental marginalization of the Ilaje people raised by Mr Enikuomehin in his interview was, however, more paramount to the Sunrise Daily crew as it was acknowledged that the discussion with him was centred more on these, and not about his differences with the party.
Mr Okunomo debunked what he termed the impression that the Labour Party was not popular in Ilaje, stating that the party had had different elections in Ilaje since the administration started, all of which they had won, except during the last governorship election in which Labour Party lost because the people decided to support the PDP candidate, Olusola Oke, who is from Ilaje.
Reading from documents in his possession, Mr Okunomo reeled out projects that were supposedly executed in Ilaje communities by the Governor Olusegun Mimiko led Labour Party administration.
Mostly stated as completed projects, especially in the health sector, he challenged Mr Benson Enikuomehin to check out his records to verify if those projects were there or not. He also challenged the Sunrise Daily crew to take a trip to Ilaje to verify the existence and status of those projects.
With counter-accusations against members of other political parties at the election, he also took on the allegations levelled against the Governor of state, regarding his campaign strategies during the just concluded by-election.
He maintained his earlier position that the Labour Party remains popular in the state and indeed in Ilaje Local Government, and that the by-election was conclusive as they only lost in 2 units.