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CLAIM: The Benue State SDP chairman John Enemari, has decamped with all its members in the 276 wards and 23 local govt areas to Labour Party. Benue State is now #OBIdients

VERDICT: False

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CONTEXT:

A viral report on blogs, social and mainstream media claims that the State Working Committee of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Benue State has collapsed its structure and joined the Labour Party (LP).

On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, Peter Obi Grassroots Mobilization had tweeted via the handle, @PO_GrassRoots, “BREAKING: The Benue State SDP chairman John Enemari, has decamped with all its members in the 276 wards and 23 local govt areas to Labour Party. Benue State is now #OBIdients.”

There were also rumours that a factional Benue State chairman of the SDP, Enemari, issued a statement directing all party members across the 276 wards and 23 LGAs of Benue State to dissolve into the LP.

Enemeri blamed the crisis rocking the SDP at the national level and indifference of the national secretariat to the plight of members of the party in the state for his decision and urged members of the party at all levels to immediately move to the LP.

He said, “The crisis at the national level has destabilised everything about the SDP in all the states of the federation and it has created crisis and factions and we cannot continue to suffer for them particularly here in Benue SDP just like we suffered for the party in 2018/2019.”

He also maintained that, “No kobo was sent to us to work for the party; and by the party’s constitution,  we were supposed to get not less than N75 million from the sale of forms in accordance with Section 72(2) but the people in Abuja sat on it.”

He added, “In a party if you don’t win elections, what do you do? Now they are in court, let them continue. Benue is not a revenue yielding state for them.”

According to him, the LP candidate is a young man that has done very well in his constituency.

Enemeri also said he had consulted with all other parties but that didn’t work, noting that “since we did not have a governorship candidate, we have decided to give our full support to Labour Party in Benue State.”

VERIFICATION: Our Partners during the investigation, ascertained that at the time of filing this report, the tweet had garnered 2,834 retweets and over 11,000 likes.

There also came across a statement by the Vice Chairman of SDP in Benue State, Emmanuel Ibyabya, dismissing the report of collapsing its structures for the Labour Party in the state as Enemeri claimed, describing the report as false and mischievous. The statement also stated that Enemeri was suspended and afterwards expelled from SDP on 8 July, 2022 on the grounds of disloyalty and unfaithfulness to the party. He stressed that the SDP remains united and committed to social justice. The State Working Committee as well as members of the party are fully behind the state chairman.”

Also, the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Shehu Gabam, said, “There is no truth in the merger story. Enemari was expelled from the party. He is no longer a member of SDP as we speak.”

CONCLUSION: From the foregoing, it is clear that Enemeri’s claim of an alliance between the SDP and LP in Benue stands truth on its head. Hence, the claim that SDP structure in Benue had collapsed into LP is contentious and controversial.

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