By Makua Ubanagu
The Labour Party factions led by Julius Abure and Lamidi Apapa have clashed over conflicting views on the ruling of the Appeal Court in Owerri.
The PUNCH reports that a Court of Appeal in Owerri, Imo State, on Thursday, sacked Julius Abure, and recognised Lamido Apapa as the National Chairman of the Labour Party.
The court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission 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.
Apapa’s faction asserts that the court dismissed Abure as National Chairman and validated their candidate as the legitimate chairman, but Abure’s faction dismisses these claims as fake news.
Coming from the Apapa-led camp, the Appeal Court allegedly dismissed the governorship and other candidates supported by the Abure-led National Working Committee, while affirming Apapa’s leadership.
However, the LP National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, contradicted the claims made about the court proceedings in a statement in Abuja.
He said, “It is another devastating blow for the Lamidi Apapa led dissident group as the Court of Appeal Owerri, sitting in Abuja today, Thursday August 24, 2023 dismissed the appeal filed by one Mr Basil Maduka, who is contending for the Labour Party governorship candidacy for Imo state.
“The court further held that the appeal by the Labour Party was not necessary as the decision of the trial court was in its favour and that mere comments of the trial judge in the matter was NOT A JUDGEMENT and should be discountenanced.
“Labour Party had asked the Court of Appeal to quash the comments of the trial court in the Federal High Court Owerri. Labour party also told the court that Senator Athan Achonu won the party’s primaries.
“The attention seeking camp of Lamidi Apapa had earlier today as usual misinformed the public by twisting the clear judgement 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 Labour Party for 2023 Imo governorship election
“With this Court of Appeal judgment and the endorsement of Senator Achonu by our national leader Peter Obi, Abia State Governor Alex Otti, the Labour Party National Chairman Julius Abure and other stakeholders and party members, the dust has settled on the gubernatorial ticket issue.
“Achonu has received the governorship flag of the party and has since flagged off his campaign with a well attended ceremony in Owerri on Tuesday.
“Recall that similarly, the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City recently affirmed Julius Abure as the National Chairman of Labour Party (LP).
“In the case of Mr Lucky Shaibu v. Julius Abure & 5 ORS (Appeal No: CA/B/93/2023), His Lordships Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji Abadua, Fatima Omoro Akinbami and Hon. Justice Sybil O. Nwaka-Gbagi in a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal of the Appellant.
“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.
“We are therefore calling on the Labour Party members, Obidient faithfuls and the general public to distance themselves from these falling and compromised members of the party who have since been shoved out of the party,” the statement said.