Confusion as Abure, Apapa differ over appeal court ruling on LP chairmanship


The leadership crisis in the Labour Party (LP) has grown
worse following confusion over who the authentic national chairman of the party


Following a court ruling on Thursday, both Lamidi Apapa and
Julius Abure, who are factional leaders of the party are claiming to be the
chairperson of the LP.


Apapa, who spoke in Abuja at a press conference, said the
judgement of the court of appeal in Owerri, Imo state capital, had affirmed him
as the authentic national chairman of the party.


He said the court also sacked the Julius Abure-led faction
and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise
governorship candidates produced by his faction for the November 11 election.


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


“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.”


Apapa said while Abure was under a restraining order, he
went ahead to conduct primary elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states ahead
of the governorship poll.


Apapa said his faction conducted primaries on April 16,
making it two primaries conducted by the LP in the states.


“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,” he said.


“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.”


Apapa said the court recognised him as the authentic
chairman of the party.


Also, speaking on Lunchtime Politics, a Channels Television
programme on Thursday, Monday Mawah, a counsel to the LP, said the court of
appeal in Edo did not affirm Abure as chairman of the party but ruled that his
suspension by his ward was illegal.


“What happened a few minutes ago is that the court of appeal
in Owerri sitting in Abuja affirmed all the candidates that emerged from the
Lamidi Apapa-led primaries in Imo – it includes Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa,” Mawah


“What happened in Edo state is not an end to the case of LP
and there is more to it. The court just confirmed that.


 “The court in Edo did
not uphold Abure as the national chairman of LP. The court only set aside the
suspension of Abure by his ward.”


Mawah said a trial court had restrained Abure from parading
himself as the LP chairman when he conducted the screening exercise for the
gubernatorial hopefuls.


However, reacting to the claim, Obiora Ifoh, spokesperson of
the Abure-led NWC of the party, said the ruling of the appellate court did not
favour the Apapa-led faction.


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


 “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


Ifoh asked party members to distance themselves from the
Apapa-led group.


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