Politics

Labour Party leadership crisis worsens as factions clash at headquarters

The Labour Party (LP) in Nigeria is experiencing a deepening crisis in its national leadership as factions continue to clash at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that on Wednesday, state chairmen of the party prevented Lamidi Apapa-led National Working Committee (NWC) from accessing the headquarters.

Recall that last week, the Apapa-led NWC took over the party’s affairs, citing a court ruling that restrained Julius Abure from acting as the National Chairman of the party.

However, on Friday, the 36 state chairmen of the party forced their way into the headquarters, insisting that Abure was still the party’s leader. They also urged the Apapa-led NWC to withdraw their case in court and use the internal dispute resolution mechanism of the Labour Party.

In front of the office gate on Wednesday, the State chairman of LP in Kwara State and the chairman for all the Chairmen Forum LP Nigeria, Kehinde Rotimi, expressed his frustration at being locked out of the party’s secretariat, and when the Apapa-led faction arrived, they were also denied access, leading to a standoff outside the building.

He said: “We have been here for quite some days now, for screening of some of our gubernatorial candidates for the forthcoming election in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo States. We were at the screening yesterday when we learnt that some people brought themselves to this office to do screening for candidates.

“When we heard that, we said that that is an aberration because they do not have the locus standing to do that. And I am a member of a screening committee where we screened so many candidates yesterday, so I do not know how they manipulated one or two candidates to come here yesterday and impersonated some of the candidates so that’s why we came here yesterday, on getting to our secretariat, we wanted to hold a meeting and we discovered it was under lock and key.

“We met some DSS men and some vigilante groups, some thugs and miscreants and they said they asked them to lock the Secretariat. So in the course of discussing that, the legal committee led by Apapa came around and were trying to engage us, their thugs were almost attacking us and we resisted every temptation to cause commotion and crises because we know the case is in Court, anything in court you don’t discuss it and we don’t want to commit contempt of court and that’s why we now said okay, what do we do, let’s stay here. So they could not enter, we too, could not enter.

“We know by tomorrow, every legal process will be completed and I know that by the time the court gives the normal ruling because when you accuse someone of an offense, especially a criminal offense, the person must be heard according to session 36 of the Nigerian constitution. In this case, you accuse four principal officers of the party of a very serious offense but they have not been heard by the court. The next thing we are hearing is that they should stop parading themselves as officers of LP. And we are part of the chairmen’s council, which is a very integral part of NEC and have the final authority to rectify any decision taken by the party. We have not met and we told them, go and wait for the court to decide they don’t want to do that. They are taking laws into their own hands. Every day they keep coming here when they discover we were tracked for an assignment. They came here quickly to come and cause trouble.”

In response to the event, LP Youth leader Anslem Eragbe, who was suspended by the NWC but reinstated by the Apapa-led NWC, declared that they were simply following the party’s constitution and bemoaned the treatment of the interim national chairperson, Apapa.

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