The mud-fight between the Comrade Julius Abure and Lamidi Apapa factions of the Labour Party, LP, may hurt the petition of the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, against the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, if mishandled.
The crisis rocking the LP took a fresh dimension, yesterday, following allegations by the Comrade Abure-led faction that the Apapa faction had approached tribunals seeking to withdraw all cases involving the party’s candidates challenging the outcome of the 2023 general elections.
The party leadership loyal to Abure raised the alarm over an alleged plot by the Apapa-led faction to scuttle its ongoing challenge to the electoral process, which led to the declaration of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu as president-elect.
Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Pastor Obiora Ifoh, raised the alarm in a statement.
‘Cheap publicity ploy’
However, the Apapa-led faction in response dismissed the claim, stating that it was a ploy by Abure to gain cheap public sympathy.
Spokesman for the Apapa faction, Comrade Abayomi Arabambi, told Vanguard over the telephone that the attempt to distract public attention from the real issues will fail.
The LP Presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, his running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed and the party are currently before the Presidential Election Tribunal seeking to nullify Tinubu’s mandate.
Ifoh said: “Daily, the evil intention of the breakaway faction of the Labour Party, led by the suspended Deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, continues to manifest and 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 elections to discontinue the cases.
“Alongside Lamidi Apapa on the plot to frustrate Labour Party’s destined victory at the tribunals and also to derail the fledgling democracy are some of the suspended members including the Samuel Akingbade, Gbenga Daramola, Anselm Eragbe and Abayomi Arabambi erstwhile National Legal Adviser, National Financial Secretary, National Youth Leader and National Publicity Secretary respectively among others.
“Recall that the leadership of the Labour Party has been swimming through the murky waters of conspiracy, treachery and sabotage orchestrated by these former officers of the party.
Moles in LP
“We had long suspected that moles were planted to sabotage the efforts of the party to offer Nigerians an alternative to the wicked and clueless governance in place today, but the desperation to satisfy their paymasters is beginning to threaten our common peace and of course our democracy.
“Approaching the tribunals to withdraw all the cases lodged by Labour Party candidates across the 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.
Apapa seeking to scuttle Obi’s petition against Tinubu
“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 offence have the candidates of the party committed that they are now moving around to withdraw their matters from the tribunals?”
He further said: “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.
Abure puts judiciary, DSS, Police, and others on notice
“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 party leadership loyal to Comrade Julius Abure equally noted that the appointment of Pastor Ifoh as Acting National Publicity Secretary followed due process as enshrined in the party’s constitution.
“All stakeholders including the state chairmen and their secretaries, zonal officers, owners and trustees of the party including NLC and TUC, some elected members of the party as well as the leader and presidential candidate of the party among 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 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.’
“All relevant government agencies including NEC were present where I 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, is turning around to calling people imposters. I wonder who the imposter is here.”
It’s cheap blackmail — Apapa
Responding, Arabambi said: “It is sad, unfortunate and disheartening that individuals who have been stopped by a court of competent jurisdiction from parading themselves as leaders of our beloved party have resorted to cheap blackmail and subterfuge.
“Abure and his cohorts cannot speak for our party and as I speak to you, we have not filed any matter seeking to discontinue our party’s challenge to the outcome of the Presidential election. It is not true.” (Vanguard)