Police take over Labour Party secretariat as NWC appoints Apapa acting national chairman
***They are agents of ruling APC, Abure reacts
The crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) deepened on Thursday as seven members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Party, announced the replacement of the suspended chairman of the party, Julius Abure with the National Vice-Chairman (South), Lamidi Bashir Apapa, as the acting chairman of the party.
Speaking after an emergency meeting held at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, Apapa said the NWC members acted on the judgement of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court which restrained Julius Abure from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.
But before the announcement, armed policemen in two patrol vans took over the LP National Secretariat located opposite the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Utako, Abuja.
The Guardian learnt that the policemen were at the location to forestall a possible breakdown of law and order and enforce the order of the FCT high court.
Recall that apart from Abure, the court also restrained three other officials of the party over alleged forgery.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Hamza Muazu, also ordered that the originating processes of the court be served on the restrained officials – Abure, the National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim; the National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara; and the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu.
The judge held that the ex parte application for an interim injunction restraining the four officials by aggrieved members of the LP before the court has merit and granted the same.
Speaking further, Apapa revealed further that NWC also reviewed the suspension of party members and exco that have earlier been suspended by the party leadership.
The three other officials restrained were also replaced by Alh. Saleh Lawal- acting national secretary, Rawland Daramola- acting treasurer, and Prince Reuben Favour – acting organising secretary.
The emergence of the NWC meetings also reinstated Executive Council members from Ogun State, Rivers State, and Gombe State.
During the meeting, Apapa also reversed the suspension of Eragbe Anslem as the National Youth Leader and Yomi Arabambi as the National Publicity Secretary.
“The NWC equally reviewed that recently there are some cases of suspensions that were badly handled. And this National Working Committee meeting as reviewed them, and the suspension all over are hereby reviewed and the officers are reinstated.
“With effect from now, the so-called officers whom the court had barred should not parade themselves as officers of the party until cases against them are treated or handled by the party”, Apapa stated.
He equally denied the allegation that the party has been invaded by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the current leadership believes extensively in the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi.
Earlier, Abure, however, had in a statement, raised an alarm accusing the APC of using thugs and a detachment of the Nigerian Police Force to invade the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Abure stated that the invaders who are armed reportedly pulled down the fences, burglaries, doors and windows to have access to the Secretariat and in the process sacked workers and party members who were at the Secretariat.
He added: “Though, I was out of town but information has it that the agenda of the Invaders was to inaugurate an illegitimate executive which has been chosen for them by their sponsors.
“This incident is coming days after a similar invasion in our Imo state Secretariat which up till now is still being occupied by the agents of the Imo state government.
“Only yesterday, our Presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi through the Presidential Campaign Council alerted Nigerians of a plot to hound him out of the country over APC’s covert plot in collaboration with some security agents to frame him up allegedly on matters bothering on treason.
“Labour Party is only a political party which is contesting for power. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC having conducted the election ranked us third, a position we have rejected and have approached the Tribunal to contest. That is our only offence.
“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his party, the APC to order and also rein them in from using unorthodox means to suffocate political structures in Nigeria”.