The Text Of A Press Conference By The Labour Party On The Developments In The Party Particularly, On The Illegal NEC Meeting Holding In Bauchi Today, The On Going Court Cases And Allegation Of Forgery Against Our National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure.

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  • The Text Of A Press Conference By The Labour Party On The Developments In The Party Particularly, On The Illegal NEC Meeting Holding In Bauchi Today, The On Going Court Cases And Allegation Of Forgery Against Our National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure.
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Let me sincerely thank you for keeping faith with the Labour Party and reporting us very well since the battle for the soul of Nigeria commenced last year with the emergence of his Excellency Peter Obi as our presidential candidate for the 2023 election, as you already know the battle was fierce and horrible, Nigerians spoke with a loud voice but the agents of darkness had other agenda up their sleeves. They earlier warned that power is not served à la-carte, that it must be fought for, grabbed, seized and ran away with. That lesson we have come to learn in a bitter way. Today, instead of celebrating and getting ready to be sworn in as a ruling party come May 29, we have found ourself trying to get back our mandate through the tribunal. What a sad story.

One of the lessons we learnt is that these agents of darkness can go all the way to destabilize a political party by infiltrating its leadership and planting moles who are of course, heavily compromised to ensure that the party looses focus. Heart of men are desperately evil and who can know it, so says the good book. We also learnt though painfully that there will always be a Judas in every twelve. In our own case about six of our former leaders who are now suspended and led by Lamidi Apapa, a suspended Deputy National Chairman, choose to paint their legs black for a few wards of naira, to betray the worthy course of reclaiming Nigeria. They sold their conscience to the devil and made money their mammon.

As I address you now, six of them, in furtherance of the directives from their paymasters, are meeting in Bauchi for a fake and unlawful National Executive Council (NEC). Surprisingly, this is coming barely two weeks after the party held its very successful NEC meeting in Asaba, Delta state that was attended by virtually all NEC members including 36 state chairmen and Secretaries, all members of the National Working Committee, most of the elected members of the national assembly, leader and presidential candidate of the party, Mr. Peter Obi, party trustees including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) amongst others.

One of the invitees of the purpoted NEC is our leader and presidential candidate, Peter Obi who incidentally on Monday was on a national television where he referred these characters as paid agents and hirelings. He also made it clear that he had never met with Apapa and that there were no issues in the party and that the reported crisis is just the “rascality” by paid agents bent on derailing the party to pursue justice. He said, “In the Labour Party, we have no issue. Bar Julius Abure is our chairman and those things you’re seeing are just the handiwork of paid agents who are trying to create confusion.”

They also invited the state chairmen of our party to their meeting. Gentlemen of the Press, seated here in this hall are all the state chairmen of our party across all the 36 states and FCT. Only last night, all our 36 member-elect of the House of Representatives and our 8 Senator-elect were represented in a caucus meeting held with the National Working Committee. Then again, I ask, who are these NEC members they are hoping to attend their jamboree in Bauchi?

Article 13:2A of our party constitution is clear on the composition of the Labour Party NEC. They include our state Chairmen and Secretaries, and all other officers as have been mentioned above. The constitution did not state that expelled and suspended officers of the party shall convene a NEC of the party. In their desperation to satisfy their paymasters who we have already established to be two governors; one from South West and another from South East, while also using a top member of the APC National Working Committee who go in between them, this transactional arrangement will see them recruiting their usual customers; touts, market women, street hawkers.and people who are not members of the party. We also have it on a reliable source that they will attempt to have a blanket suspension of all our elected members of our NWC, a power that is alien and unheard of. They have also been dangling carrots to some of our leaders to either join them or be suspended.

This is unfortunate because, were it not for the ex-parte order of the FCT High Court mischievously granted and sustained by Justice Hamza Muazu which dangerously exposed the res, that is the party, to danger instead of protecting it, these matter would have died a natural death. We have it on good authourity that their sponsors are leaving nothing to chance and have vowed to continue to instigate crisis in Labour Party with the intention of benefiting from the instability which they hope will affect the party’s case at the tribunal.

Let me also use this opportunity to intimate you on the legal tussle under purview. On the 5th of April, 2023, an Edo State High Court restrained the Labour Party Executive of Ward 3, Arue Uromi, Edo state from suspending Barrister Julius Abure as the National Chairman of Labour Party. In the case filed before His Lordship, Justice E.O Ahamioje, with case NO. HCU/21/2023, Julius Abure on behalf of other claimants filed the Motion ex-parte against the defendants including Thompson Ehiguese who is the Ward 3 Chairman, Lucky Shaibu and Labour Party. The enrolment orders include but not limited to an order of interim injunction restraining the party or officers of the party from suspending or expelling Abure, pending the determination of the motion on
notice. On this, Justice Ahamioje after consideration of the claims granted interim injunction restraining the defendants from suspending Abure.

Same day, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Muazu also issued an ex-parte order restraining Abure and three others from parading themselves as national officers of the party. Armed with the order, Apapa and his dissident group, like uncaged lions, without the approval of the NEC of the party, procured the services of thugs, Police and DSS and marched to the national headquarters of the party, massively attacked the property, pulled down the fences, burglaries, doors and window to have access to our Secretariat and in the process sacked workers and party members who were at the Secretariat. They took away files, computers, financial document amongst others including going as low as packing bottles of wines and other gift items found in the offices. In fact, they striped the office bare.

For emphasis, the Edo State High court and the FCT High court are courts of equal and coordinate jurisdiction. It amazes one to note that while they are quick to respect the order of the FCT court they flagrantly dishonoured the Edo court orders, even when they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions. Within minutes of the brutal invasion, they reversed most of the decisions passed by the legally constituted NWC for which all of them played active roles. They upturned the suspension of the former National Youth Leader, Anselem Eragbe and the former National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi. They went ahead and awarded themselves title and offices in contravention of the court order

I will pulse here to tell you our worries about the absurdity and abnormality of the ex-parte order granted by Justice Muazu which has since emboldened these dissidents. An ex-parte order is granted to protect the res, that is the property. And who is the party? The current and legally elected leadership. The res is Abure who is the chairman of the party. Ex-parte order is granted on extreme emergency. For ex-party order to be granted, it means that the matter must be an urgent one. If it is not granted within 48 hours, something will happen or maybe someone will die.
There was nothing urgent in this matter so the judge is not suppose to grant it. It is when there is a strong threat to the res or property, or the property is going to be destroyed that the order can be granted.

Rule 43, order 3 of the FCT laws states that an ex-parte order lasts after 7 days. But the judge mischievously in awarding the order, stated that it will be pending until the hearing and the determination of the motion on notice. It means that he must determine the motion on notice. We fear that the order is now begining to take the shape of an interlocutory order. The order ought to be a short term but it is becoming long like an interlocutory which lasts through the pendency or life time of the matter. We are however, relieved that on the next adjourned date of May 12, the court will make a definite ruling on Jurisdiction brought before it which we insists it does not have. We have also taken note of Justice Muazu’s frivolous issuance of ex-parte in the past even when there was no need. A similar case experience happened in Adamawa in 2021 where he granted an ex-parte order that has to do with criminal application against the APC which resulted to serious crisis in the party. The leadership of the APC in Adamawa appealed the order and court of Appeal said he didn’t have the power to give such order. Supreme court also affirmed the decision of the Appeal Court.

Once there is a criminal element in an affidavit in support of ex-parte application, then that party is put on notice. Because ex-parte is what you hear from one side and in this case we were not put on notice in a weighty criminal allegations, so the judge has even sentenced us without hearing from us. He has given the impression to the whole world that we are criminals even without hearing from us. That is why they are parading the order everywhere. Ex-parte order is almost being condemned by the supreme court because it is against the spirit of fair hearing. NJC policy is also very clear, it has given direction severally that ex-parte application should no longer be fancied and that judges must avoid it.

In the first instance, one may ask why the appellant went to court asking Abure and others to restrain themselves as officers of the party. They had claimed forgery and perjury but these were another calculated attempts to destroy the party leadership and probably make the party unattractive. Recall that late last year, former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi joined Labour Party, and subsequently emerged the presidential candidate of our party. As expected there were flurry of activities with many politicians gravitating towards our party in virtually all the state of the federation.

In Ebonyi state, our party structure was not so strong however with the new development, a lot of people started showing interest. On a particular occasion, the former Youth Leader, Anselem Eragbe was accompanied to the national secretariat alongside one Splendour Eze and some other persons from Ebonyi state who claimed they were willing to defect from other political parties to Labour Party.

On the recommendation of the suspended Youth Leader, Mr. Splendour Eze was appointed as the Ebonyi state chairman and was given the task of reorganizing the party. Two weeks later, it was time to conduct governorship primaries, and we didn’t have someone who was ready to run for the governorship. As the state chairman, he was instructed to put his name as a Place-holder, with the understanding and agreement that he will relinquish the position when we have a capable candidate. Subsequently, an aspirant with capacity indicated interest to run under the platform of the party. Splendour Eze then voluntarily withdrew, signed and submitted relevant documents upon which a fresh primary was conducted and Edward Nkwoagu emerged as the candidate of the party.

Few days later Mr. Splendour Eze came to the National Secretariat with one Fidelis Nwankwo, claiming that he is the candidate he prefers and that he is the one he would want to step down for. Of course, the party having conducted its primaries and elected Edward Nkwoagu as its candidate can’t reverse its stand in line with the electoral act.

Mr. Splendour Eze as stated earlier was only a Place-holder. He was not in a position to dictate to the party. He didn’t buy form, he didn’t pay for the expression of interest form, he didn’t pay for the nomination fees, therefore, the issue of dictating to the party does not arise. So he left and swore to deal with the party, a threat we never took serious.

To our utmost consternation, what we saw was a petition to the Commissioner of Police on the allegation of forgery against the National Chairman. Of course, the police invited the National Chairman but it came at the heat of the campaigns and the party explained to the Police in writing, the constraints before it. But whether mischievously or erroneously, the Police said they got a bench warrant and wrote an interim report which they are now parading. But the police stated emphatically in the Order that It should the letter without hearing from the accused, that it did not also have a legal advice and that it should not be held responsible for the content of the letter. However, the national chairman after the campaigns reported himself to the police, made statement and was granted bail on self recognition, which of course obviated the Warrant of Arrest. So the Warrant of Arrest they are parading is worthless and of no consequence.

On the issue of forged signatories, the party also presented the fact before the police, that both the nomination form which Mr Splendour Eze filled and the withdrawal form which he filled were all signed by him. Those forms did not pass through the chairman, rather they passed through the clerical office and were uploaded directly to INEC portal. So those documents were his. If he is claiming that he is the candidate of the party, who signed his form? The signature in the nomination form is thesame signature in the withdrawal form. If he is claiming that oath was forged, who forged the oath? Those are his documents he submitted, he was the one that went to court to swear the oath and brought it to the office.

It dawned on the party that ab-nitio, Mr. Splendour Eze had planned and conceived evil against the officers of the party because those documents were purely his documents. They carry his photographs. Those were the documents he submitted to the office and they were treated on the surface of it. It wasn’t the responsibility of the National Chairman to start investigating his signature. So it is our opinion that all the hullabaloo are all political gimmick hatched to whittle the progress being made by the Labour Party.

Apapa and his gang is aware of what the party constitution states as to how you can remove a national chairman. Article 17 (1) 1. The National Chairman may be suspended or removed from office with a vote of confidence passed by 2/3 majority of the national convention conveyed solely for that purpose. It is a long process because the processes will commence from the NWC to NEC before getting to convention. The judge did not look at the constitution of the party and he just went ahead to give an order. The courts have heard severally, that issues of party leadership is an internal matter, a family issue therefore, the court does not even have the jurisdiction to look at it. So, however you look at it, all of these point to the fact that that judge has a lot to explain on this matter.

Let us look at some of these characters who are now working hard to destroy the Labour Party. These men who have no known means of livelihood, a few days ago, recently flew into Owerri on a private jet and have continued to lodge in five star hotels in Abuja. How did they suddenly become stupendously rich within a period of two months, a period that coincided with the general election. Alongside Lamidi Apapa are some of the kingpins including the suspended National Legal Adviser, Samuel Akingbade, ex-National Financial Secretary, Gbenga Daramola, ex-National Youth Leader, Anselem Eragbe and Abayomi Arabambi who was the former National Publicity Secretary.

Six months ago, Eragbe, the erstwhile former Youth Leader was suspended based on allegations of forgery, issuance of certificates to groups unknown to the leadership of the party without the approval of the National Working Committee or the National Chairman, the launch of a fund mobilisation website to receive funds without the approval of the National Working Committee or the National Chairman and sending official letters to some individuals without the approval of the National Working Committee or the National Chairman. The party dashed him a senatorial ticket without paying a dime yet, he openly hobnobbed with our major foe and he deliberately worked against the aspiration of our presidential candidate, a development the party viewed as gross misconduct and a disobedience to the constitution.

For Abayomi Arabambi, the formet National Publicity Secretary, who was one time, LP State Chairman in Ogun state, politics is all about money. He was given an assignment to ensure that the party’s candidates for Senate and House of Representatives positions in both Lagos and Ogun states were listed in INEC portal for the general elections in 2023. Not knowing he is an agent of the opposition party, he bungled it having being given huge amount of money and having been promised of a slot in Ogun state government. After collecting millions of naira from the party in Lagos State into his personal bank accounts purportedly for “legal fees”and other ancillary expenses in respect of the matter, Arabambi still went ahead to work against the party. He even refused to hand over the case file after he was busted. These actions cost the party the opportunity to field legislative candidates in Lagos state. The party suspended him after a plethora of evidence of his treachery, deception and other anti party activities.The pictures of Arabambi where he led a group of discredited and renegade members of the labour party in Ogun state to repeatedly visit and endorse Governor Abiodun who is of APC in a contest where the party was also contesting have been trending in the social media.

On the part of the suspended Legal Adviser, Samuel Akingbade, he scuttled most of our cases from Benue to Ogun, from Edo to Rivers. He was at some time caught and confronted with evidences of forgery by the NWC, where he shamefully tendered apologies. Last week he was busted for approaching the tribunals to withdraw all the cases lodged by Labour Party candidates across board, an act that received wide condemnation and variously described as the height of subterfuge and treachery.

In conclusion, ,…………………….


Obiora Ifoh,
Acting National Publicity Secretary

03 – 05 – 2023

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