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Okupe’s Exit: Opportunist or Ideologue?

Okupe, the former campaign chief of Peter Obi, has quit the party over ideological differences.

by Victor Adetimilehin

The former campaign chief of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has quit the party over ideological differences. However, some party members have accused him of being an opportunist who only joined the party to contest the 2023 elections.


A Shocking Resignation

Doyin Okupe, a veteran politician and former aide to two ex-presidents, announced his resignation from the Labour Party (LP) in a letter shared with journalists on Monday. He cited ideological conflicts as the reason for his exit from the party, which he joined in 2023 along with Obi and others after leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“I have been a rightist and a Liberal Democrat all my entire life. It is therefore this ideological conflict that makes me seek an exit so that I may continue my political activities with liberalism, sincerity, and freedom,” the letter partly read.

Okupe’s resignation came as a surprise to many, as he was the Director-General of the Peter Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, which ran a formidable campaign against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. Obi, a former governor of Anambra state, was widely seen as a credible alternative to the two major candidates, but he lost the election by a narrow margin.


A Question of Loyalty

Okupe’s decision to leave the LP has sparked reactions from some party members, who have questioned his loyalty and commitment to the party’s vision and values. The LP’s legal counsel, Kenneth Okonkwo, a popular Nollywood actor, labeled Okupe as an “opportunist” who only used the party as a “Special Purpose Vehicle” to contest the election.

He said Okupe had no interaction with the party after he stepped down as the campaign DG and accused him of being an ideological mismatch from the onset.

“Could it then be that you’re an opportunist because you said – and I’m talking about what he said – the only reason you entered was to go and contest the election. And the question is this: if he had gone into the election and won, would he have remembered the ideological difference?

“That’s why you’re an opportunist – that’s why you’ve portrayed yourself as an opportunist,” Okonkwo said on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ program on Thursday.

Okonkwo added that Okupe’s whole idea “is to go and win the election, not ideology.”


A Tainted Reputation

Okupe’s political career has been marred by controversies and scandals, especially in relation to his involvement in the infamous arms deal case, which saw him convicted for money laundering in December 2023.

Okupe, a day after his conviction for money laundering, announced his withdrawal from the campaign of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, but vowed his support and loyalty to the party’s flagbearer.

However, his latest move has cast doubt on his sincerity and integrity, as well as his future political prospects.

Despite Okupe’s departure, the Labour Party remains optimistic about its chances of making a positive impact on the Nigerian political landscape. The party has a strong grassroots base and a progressive agenda that aims to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, corruption, and poor governance.

The party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has also maintained his relevance and popularity, as he continues to speak out on national issues and advocate for good governance, accountability, and social justice.

The party hopes to build on its performance in the 2023 elections and present itself as a viable alternative to the ruling APC and the opposition PDP, which have dominated Nigerian politics since 1999.

The party believes that Nigerians deserve better and that change is possible with the right leadership and vision.

Source: Punch

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