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Confusion as LP factions clash at tribunal


LP factions clash

The leadership crisis rocking the Labour Party worsened on Wednesday as the factions loyal to the acting National Chairman, Bashiru Apapa, and Julius Abure engaged in a fight at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.

Recall that the Federal High Court, Abuja had suspended Abure as the National Chairman of the LP.

The court also restrained him and four others from parading themselves as national officers of the party over alleged forgery of documents, including court documents.

Following this, Apapa took over as the acting chairman of the party.

But the frosty relationship between the two factions boiled over as Apapa was nearly mobbed by some aggrieved LP members on the court premises but for the quick intervention of policemen, who brought the situation under control.

The commotion outside the court followed the battle for recognition by the two factions.

Shortly before the court convened for the resumed proceedings in the pre-hearing of the petition filed by the LP and its presidential candidate against the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, the different factions of the party engaged in a war of words over which faction was the authentic one.

The Lamidi Apapa-led faction of the LP challenged why members of the party loyal to Abure were in the court.

Some moments later, when the matter was called, the PEP court denied recognition to any of the factions or its representative except the 1st petitioner, Obi, who was in court.

After Obi announced his appearance as the petitioner, he was immediately followed by the National Women’s leader of the party, Dudu Manuga. But before the court could take down the names, Apapa quickly introduced himself.

The presiding Justice of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani interjected and said, “It appears there was a little disagreement… We are not recognising any representative from the party.”

The court subsequently adjourned the LP petition till Friday following the failure of the parties to agree on documents among other reasons.

The panel had last week adjourned the pre-hearing of Obi and the LP’s petition at the instance of the petitioners who agreed to harmonise the documents germane to their pleadings.

But during Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel for the LP and Obi, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), informed the court that the 1st respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, had failed to avail his team of about 70 per cent of documents relevant to their case.

In a brief ruling, Tsammani adjourned the pre-hearing till Friday with a warning that all parties must come prepared as the deadline for the pre-hearing  would not be extended.

Addressing the media after the court session, Apapa remarked that Obi’s lack of respect for the rule of law was responsible for the crisis rocking the party.

According to him, it was wrong for Obi to accord recognition to Abure despite the order of the court and as a presidential candidate seeking justice from the same court of law.

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