Politics

JUST IN: Labour Party Reacts to Removal of Its Lawmaker by Tribunal, Reveals Next Move

The Labour Party (LP) has declared its intention to appeal the decision made by the election petition tribunal in Delta sacking its lawmaker.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports the tribunal had ruled in favour of sacking Ngozi Okolie, who was representing the Aniocha/Oshimili constituency at the House of Representatives.

The tribunal, on Monday, held that Okolie was not a member of the LP as of May 28, 2022, when the primary election of the party was purportedly held.

The panel declared Ndudi Elumelu, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was the first runner-up in the February 25 national assembly poll, as the winner.

Reacting to the ruling, the LP, in a statement, said it was “shocking and inconsistent with the position of the law“.

The party said it is part of its rules and guidelines to accommodate any Nigerian who wishes to join the party during elections, noting that the electoral law allows the substitution of candidates.

The issue of nomination of candidates as well as membership are internal affairs of the party beyond the jurisdiction of courts,” the statement said.

“It is only a political party that can determine who its members are and who their flag bearer for an election should be.”

The LP said it is putting together its documents and will appeal the ruling immediately.

The party said it is confident that the appeal court will overturn the ruling and uphold Okolie’s victory.

The statement by the party reads:

The national leadership of the Labour Party is shocked over Monday’s judgment by the national assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta state, where it sacked Labour Party’s Ngozi Okolie who is representing Aniocha/Oshimili constituency in the house of representatives,” the statement reads.

“We note that the judgment is clearly inconsistent with the position of the law already settled even by superior courts, including the supreme court.

“The issue of nomination of candidates as well as membership are internal affairs of the party beyond the jurisdiction of courts. It is only a political party that can determine who its members are and who their flag bearer for an election should be.

“Part of the rules and guidelines of the Labour Party is to accord membership to any Nigerian whoso desire, and including by way of a waiver.

“If you look at our guidelines, it is very clear, that we can grant a waiver to people who are joining us during the election, and Labour Party in observance of its own relevant rules and guidelines discharged its obligations by granting a waiver to hon. Ngozi Okolie.

“So, It is our inalienable right under our own rules and we activated it to the fullest. The electoral law also gave us the power to field candidates and further gave us the power to equally substitute candidates.

“An action based on the determination of membership of a political party is not justiciable. Therefore, the judgement by the tribunal is not acceptable to us and it is also not the final.

“The petitioner obtained a mere phyric victory that will fall flat on appeal. We are putting our documents together and we are going ahead to appeal the judgment immediately.”

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