Mr Olumide Akpata, a Labour Party governorship aspirant in the upcoming Edo governorship election, on Tuesday said he joined the party to build it and not to destroy it.
He made this known in Benin while debunking allegations that he sponsored a protest at the Labour Party secretariat in Benin on Sunday, Feb. 4.
Akpata, also a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), noted that he had invested time and resources in building the party across Edo since he joined and would not want it destroyed by anyone or group of people.
He noted that he had no knowledge of the protest and did not sanction it in any way.
According to him, the baseless rumours and insinuations mischievously circulated are totally false.
“It has come to my attention that there was a protest on Sunday, Feb. 4, at the Labour Party State Secretariat in Benin, which allegedly turned violent. The baseless rumours and insinuations that have been mischievously circulated that the protesters were carrying out my bidding are totally false, unfounded and quite frankly ridiculous.
“I am a loyal and dedicated member of the Labour Party, who has invested significant time, energy, and resources towards building and strengthening the party across the state since I joined. It is, therefore, both laughable and utterly despicable that I would be linked to any kind of violent protest at the party secretariat,” Akpata said.
He said that the allegations and rumours emanated from certain quarters within the party that were opposed to his emergence as the Labour Party gubernatorial flag bearer.
“In their desperation, they have resorted to underhanded tactics and smear campaigns to undermine my widespread credibility, acceptability, and support base within and outside the party. Amusingly, this is quite similar to an earlier campaign of calumny that sought to link me to acts of violence meted out against a former National Youth Leader of the party in Benin
“This is yet another ludicrous attempt to unjustly give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. These puerile allegations are the products of malicious minds that are aimed at tarnishing my hard-earned reputation and image. I once again reject all insinuations and rumours linking me or my supporters to this purported protest,” he said.
Akpata added that his campaign organisation, supporters and well-wishers did not also engage in, encourage, or sanction any kind of violence or unwholesome conduct.
“I remain focused and steadfast in pursuit of my gubernatorial aspirations in a lawful and peaceful manner, upholding the principles of tolerance and justice.” he said.