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Confusion in LP as Abure, Apapa lay claim to chairmanship seat



The duo of the embattled Labour Party national chairman, Julius Abure and the party’s factional leader, Lamidi Apapa, on Thursday pushed the party into further crisis after they both laid claim to the chairmanship seat.

The Court of Appeal, Owerri, had earlier on Thursday affirmed Apapa as the LP authentic chairman.

The court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately recognise and publish the names of all the governorship candidates produced by the Apapa-led National Working Committee in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi States.

Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court had on April 5 restrained Abure and three others from misrepresenting themselves as the LP national officers.

The judge later granted an order of stay of execution on the suspension of Abure and the other officers in another ruling delivered on May 19.

The Edo State High Court aligned itself with the ruling in a judgement delivered on May 28 and declared Abure as the LP national chairman.

This stance was also strengthened by an Appeal Court, Benin City, which affirmed the Edo State-born lawyer as the party chairman.

However, at a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday evening, Apapa said the Owerri appellate court had affirmed him as the LP authentic national chairman.

He lamented that Abure defied the court order and conducted governorship primaries in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa States ahead of the November 11 elections in the three states.

He said: “You will recall that on April 5 the FCT High Court restrained Abure and others from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

READ ALSO: Labour Party leadership crisis festers, as Apapa floors Abure at A’Court in battle for party’s chairmanship 

“As a result, the party appointed the Deputy National Chairman Alhaji Lamidi Apapa as the acting national chairman of the party pursuant to its constitution.

“Sequel to that the party under my leadership wrote to INEC changing its date of primary election earlier scheduled by Abure from April 15 to April 16.

“Peeved by the primary conducted by me, a candidate who participated in the Abure primary took my candidate to court whilst maintaining that Abure’s candidates were the authentic ones.

“The case was frantically defended, and the Federal High court, Owerri Division, declared the primaries conducted by me as the authentic candidate as Abure was under a restraining order as at the time he screened candidates and conducted his primaries.”

But in a swift reaction, the LP National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, said the court did not rule in favour of Apapa’s faction.

He urged party members to disregard the rival faction.

Ifoh said: “The attention-seeking camp of Lamidi Apapa had earlier today as usual misinformed the public by twisting the clear judgment of the appellate court.

“It is therefore important to state that neither the Federal High Court Owerri nor the Court of Appeal Owerri, which sat in Abuja today made any orders in the matter other than for lack of locus standi against the plaintiff (Basil Maduka).

“Consequently, the status quo remains with Senator Athan Achonu as the validly nominated candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 Imo governorship election.

“In his lead judgment, Justice Abadua, while nullifying the earlier suspension and all actions taken against Abure and the party arising from the purported suspension, affirmed the decision of the High Court of Edo State and held that one man cannot suspend the national chairman of Labour Party in line with Article 13 and 17 of the Constitution of the Party and the extant Electoral Act of 2022 particularly when the appellant has been described by the party as unknown.”

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