Labour Party leadership crisis worsens as Lamidi and Abure factions clash at National headquarters
In Nigeria, the Labour Party (LP) is experiencing a worsening leadership crisis as factions continue to clash at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
State chairmen of the party prevented Lamidi Apapa-led National Working Committee (NWC) from entering the headquarters on Wednesday.
Recall that the Apapa-led NWC took over the party’s affairs last week, citing a court ruling that prevented Julius Abure from serving as the party’s National Chairman.
Friday, however, the 36 state chairmen of the party forcibly entered the headquarters and insisted that Abure was still the party’s leader. They also urged the Apapa-led NWC to withdraw their lawsuit and utilise the Labour Party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism.
Kehinde Rotimi, the State chairman of the LP in Kwara State and the chairman for all the Chairmen Forum LP Nigeria, expressed his frustration at being locked out of the party’s secretariat on Wednesday in front of the office gate, and when the Apapa-led faction arrived, they were also denied access, resulting in a standoff outside the building.
He stated, “We have been here for several days now, screening some of our gubernatorial candidates for upcoming elections in the states of Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo. Yesterday, at the screening, we learned that some individuals had brought themselves to this office to conduct candidate screenings.
“When we heard that, we declared it to be an anomaly because they lack the locus standi to do so. And I am a member of a screening committee where we screened so many candidates yesterday, so I do not know how they coerced one or two candidates to come here yesterday and impersonated some of the candidates, which is why we came here because our secretariat was locked when we attempted to hold a meeting.
“We met with members of the DSS and vigilante groups, as well as thugs and criminals, who claimed they were instructed to secure the Secretariat. So while we were discussing this, the legal committee led by Apapa came around and tried 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, and we don’t want to commit contempt of court. So that they could not enter, neither could we.
According to section 36 of the Nigerian constitution, when someone is accused of an offense, particularly a criminal offense, they must be heard. In this case, you accuse four party leaders of a very serious offense, but the court has not yet heard their case.
The next thing we hear is that they must discontinue posing as LP officers. And as members of the chairmen’s council, which is an integral part of the NEC, we have the final authority to reverse any party decision.
We have not met, and we have told them to wait until the court decides they do not wish to do so. They are acting independently of the law. When they discover we were being followed for an assignment, they continue to visit us daily. They arrived quickly in order to cause trouble.”
In response to the event, the LP Youth leader Anslem Eragbe, who had been suspended by the NWC but reinstated by the NWC led by Apapa, stated that they were simply following the party’s constitution and bemoaned Apapa’s treatment.
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