LP to elected members: align with Apapa, lose your seats

Labour Party’s (LP) leadership crisis escalated further yesterday with the Julius Abure and Lamidi Apapa groups holding separate National National Working Committee (NWC) meetings in Abuja and Bauchi.

At the Abuja meeting, the Abure group warned that any elected member of the LP found to be in support of Apapa risked having his seat declared vacant. It added that other members that lend their loyalty to the suspended National Chairman(South) could be expelled.

But at the Bauchi NEC meeting, the Apapa group announced that it had pardoned LP’s Presidential candidate for the February 25 election, Peter Obi and his running-mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed for attending last month’s meeting of the NEC in Asaba, Delta State.

The LP leadership crisis broke out when the Federal High Court in Abuja barred the National Chairman (Abure) and three others from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

Apapa assumed the role of Acting Chairman, pending when the order of the court would be vacated. The Abure – led NWC, however, refused to recognise the leadership of Apapa.

At the Abuja NEC parley yesterday, LP’s Deputy National Chairman Ladi Illiya, described the Bauchi meeting as fake and unconstitutional. 

Illiya added that those behind the “contrived leadership rumblings” within the LP did not wish it well.

He said: “Those who are gathering in Bauchi in an attempt to hold a fake and unconstitutional National Executive Council(NEC) meeting do not represent our party.

“We held our authentic constitutionally approved NEC meeting in Asaba, Delta State about two weeks ago. At the meeting, we had all the state chairmen and secretaries from the 36 states as well as the Abuja chairman and secretary in attendance. , Who then are the NEC members in Bauchi?

“Anyone that joins them, we will declare their seat vacant. I have the backing of the NWC on that.”

LP’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, claimed that there were plans by “detractors” to continue to instigate crisis in the party.

He claimed that Apapa supporters have “been dangling carrots to “some of our leaders to either join them or be suspended.”

His words: “One of the lessons we learnt is that these agents of darkness can go all the way to destabilise a political party by infiltrating its leadership and planting moles who are of course, heavily compromised to ensure that the party loses focus.

“We urge the members of the public and our teaming supporters to continue to disregard the activities of Apapa and his cohorts, particularly the so-called NEC meeting in Bauchi.

“Today, all chairmen and secretaries, NWC members are here. So who are they meeting with in Bauchi? Their desperation and the haste to satisfy their paymasters are high.”

In Bauchi, the Apapa-led NEC said it had resolved to pardon Obi and Baba-Ahmed. It did not give a reason for the decision. 

The pardon is part of a 19-point communique issued by Apapa and acting National Secretary Saleh Lawan.

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