The post-election crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) has taken a different dimension as the Julius Abure-led group has accused the Lamidi Apapa-led faction of going to court to withdraw all petitions filed at the court, including that of the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
But the Apapa-led faction has responded quickly, stating that Julius Abure remains suspended.
Earlier, the acting national publicity secretary of the party, Mr Obiora Ifoh, had said that, daily, the evil intention of the breakaway faction of the Labour Party, led by the suspended deputy national chairman, Lamidi Apapa continues to manifest.
He said, “Just this morning, our legal team was confronted by the stark revelation that these men have advanced their plot by approaching all the tribunals where our numerous candidates lodged their election petitions arising from the recently held general election.
“Alongside Lamidi Apapa on the plot to frustrate Labour Party’s destined victory in the tribunals and also to derail the fledgling democracy are some of the suspended members, including Samuel Akingbade, Gbenga Daramola, Anselem Eragbe and Abayomi Arabambi, erstwhile national legal adviser, national financial secretary, national youth leader and national publicity secretary, respectively, amongst others.
The statement by the acting publicity secretary said approaching the tribunals to withdraw all the cases lodged by Labour Party candidates across board is the height of subterfuge and treachery, and Nigerians will resist this ploy to plunge the nation into unnecessary turmoil.
“Their actions show that they are working against the party and that they are working to destroy the party. If they claim that they have a problem with the national leadership of the party, will they also claim that they have a problem with the candidates of the party? What offense has the candidates of the party committed that they are now moving around to withdraw their matters from the tribunal.
“The leadership of the Labour Party is, therefore, calling on the tribunals to disregard any letter emanating from our suspended national legal adviser, Samuel Akingbade, to the effect that all our cases are to be withdrawn. We are also calling on the presidential election tribunal to disregard such letters from these ex-officials of our party asking for the withdrawal of Peter Obi’s petition.
“We also call on the Police, DSS and EFCC to quickly apprehend and question these agents of destruction before they succeed in igniting the nation,” the statement said, adding that shortly after the general election, the party had written to all the relevant bodies, including the INEC, of its intention to hold its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting line with the provisions of the law. It also informed the DSS and Police of that intention.
“All stakeholders, including the state chairmen and their secretaries, zonal officers, owners and trustees of the party, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), some elected members of the party as well as the leader and presidential candidate amongst others met in Asaba on April 18, where I was elected as the national publicity secretary due to the vacancy that occurred after the expulsion of the former national publicity secretary in line with the powers conferred on it.
“Article 14(2) b Section XIV of the Labour Party Constitution on the Powers and Function of the NEC states: ‘to fill vacancies in the National Working Committee (NWC) as they may occur from time to time in between national convention’. Also, Section XV states: ‘To take disciplinary action against any member or organ of the party as it may seem fit in the interest of the party’. The statement noted that all relevant government agencies, including NEC, were present where he was unanimously elected.
“It is even ludicrous that an imposter who committed a crime and forged signatures upon which he has been suspended over six months ago, and for him to turn around to be calling people imposter, I wonder who the imposter here is,” Ifoh said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the national publicity secretary of the Apapa-led faction of the party, Dr Arabambi Abayomi, said the faction was shocked by the “unending, empty, bitter, misdirected ill-will from a thoroughly demystified, restrained and suspended former national chairman Julius Abure,” describing it as lies from the pit of hell that its faction’s national working committee had filed a suit to discontinue Peter Obi election petition tribunal case.
He wrote: “The attention of the Labour Party was drawn to the coordinated attacks launched by agents, miscreants and political misfits and questionable characters who were junior staff of Ever-Ready Transport Service Ltd, a transport company belonging to the suspended and restrained former national chairman of Labour Party, Mr Julius Abure.
“Labour Party National Working Committee, led by Alhaji Bashiru Lamidi Apapa, wouldn’t have dignified this false publication laced with deliberate falsehood, or considered it necessary to react to such an epistle of personal bitterness, ignorance and complete unintelligent outburst, but for the benefit of the few in the public who may innocently be misinformed by this ethically rusty and morally depraved social misfit and miscreants.
“Abure, for the records, has been restrained by the FCT High Court over confirmed allegations of forgery of court seal, forgery of signature and stamp of commissioners for oath, forgery and production of Treasury Single Account (TSA) and criminal conspiracies thus it’s not new to us that he can further engage himself in a very cheap blackmail to gain public sympathy in order to cover up his criminal track.”
He challenged Abure to produce a copy of the letter of engagement signed by the acting national chairman and acting national secretary to the lawyer that filed the suit and also a copy of the process filed to discontinue the petition filed by the LP presidential candidate before the tribunal.
“Let it be known that we will not be intimidated by these wicked lies but we are quick to point out that it is a well-orchestrated plan by the corrupt Abure to incite violence and chaos in order to make Nigeria ungovernable.
“We also want to make it clear that the Labour Party will not engage in verbal war with those pedestrian political misfits and despots since it is obvious Abure is acting under an influence,” Abayomi said.
He added that the party stood by its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi’s mission to reclaim the mandate freely given to him and the party during the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly election.