How Labour Party State Chairmen Stopped Apapa-Led Faction From Entering Party Headquarters In Abuja
There was pandemonium at the Labour Party (LP) headquarters, yesterday, as some state chairmen of the party refused to allow the Lamidi Apapa-led National Working Committee (NWC) gain access into the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
The internal wrangling within the LP took a turn for the worse last week when a faction, aided by policemen, stormed the party’s National Secretariat located at Utako, Abuja to take control of the building.
The group, made up of seven members of the National Working Committee (NWC) had installed the National Vice-Chairman (South), Lamidi Bashir Apapa, as acting chairman, replacing Julius Abure.
They said they were acting on the judgement of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court which restrained Abure from parading himself as National Chairman of the party.
On Friday, however, 36 state chairmen of the party had forced their way into the party’s headquarters, insisting Abure remained the national chairman.
But speaking to journalists, yesterday, in front of the office gate, Chief Kehinde Rotimi, state chairman of LP in Kwara State and chairman forum of LP in Nigeria, said trouble started when the group arrived for a meeting but were locked out of the secretariat and that when the Apapa-led faction arrived, (the state chairmen) also refused to let them in, forcing everyone to remain outside.
“We have been here for quite some days now, for screening of some of our gubernatorial candidates for the forth coming election in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo States. We were at the screening, yesterday, when we learnt that some people brought themselves to this office to do screening for candidates, when we heard that, we said that that is an aberration because they do not have the locus standing to do that.
“I am a member of the screening committee where we screened so many candidates yesterday, so I do not know how they manipulated one or two candidates to come here yesterday and impersonated some of the candidates. So that’s why we came here. On getting to our secretariat, we wanted to hold a meeting and we discovered it was under lock and key. So we met some DSS men and some vigilantes groups, some thugs and miscreants and they said they asked them to lock the secretariat. So in the course of discussing, the legal committee led by Apapa came around and were trying to engage us, and their thugs were almost attacking us and we resisted every temptation to cause commotion and crisis because we know the case is in Court. Any thing in court you don’t discuss it and we don’t want to commit contempt of court and that’s why we now said okay, what do we do, let’s stay here. So they could not enter, we too, could not enter.”
Rotimi, however, said by today every legal process would be completed even as he expressed the optimism that the court would give their faction favorable judgment.
“ I know that by the time the court gives the normal ruling, because when you accuse someone of an offense, especially criminal offense, the person must be heard according to session 36 of the Nigerian constitution. In this case, you accuse four principal officers of the party of a very serious offense but they have not been heard by the court the next thing we are hearing is they should stop parading themselves as officers of LP. And we are part of the chairmen council, which is a very integral part of NEC who have the final authority to rectify any decision taken by the party. We have not met and we told them, go and wait for the court to decide they don’t want to do that they are are taking laws into their hands. Everyday they keep coming here when they discovered we tracked for an assignment the came here quickly to come and cause trouble.” He stated.
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