Accuses Abure, others of Romancing With Tinubu’s Adopted Senate President
Abure denies allegations, says no money change hands with Akpabio
Declares: I’ve resumed office as Labour Party National Chairman,
By Joyce Babayeju
The Lamidi Apapa led-NWC of Labour Party has raised fears that the party might have its petition thrown away by the Appeal Court for what it described as lame excuse by Peter Obi’s legal team to provide substantial evidence to back up their claims at the court.
They have also accused the Bar. Julius Abure-led National Working Committee of Labour Party of hobnobbing with the APC adopted 10th Assembly’s Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.
But in a swift reaction, Abure has dismissed the allegation, saying saying Senator Akpabio only paid a visit to Labour Party secretariat to solicit support from the party for his Senate President ambition.
Abure also declared that he has resumed duty as the authentic National Chairman of the party, haven appealed the charges against him and four others pending in an FCT High Court.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the party, Abayomi Arabambi, raised the alarm over Labour Party’s inability to afford INEC’s fee of N1.5 million to obtain all the required documents at from the Commission to prosecute their petition against the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It would be recalled that at the proceedings of 17th May, 2023, leading counsel to Mr. Obi, Mr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN complained of their inability to obtain some electoral documents from INEC in respect of Rivers and Sokoto States.
But lead counsel to INEC, Mr. Mahmud, SAN, drew the court’s attention to Mr. Uzoukwu’s letter, where Mr. Peter Obi and the Labour Party expressed their inability to make the requisite statutory payments to INEC, for the issuance of the certified true copies of the said documents.
Mahmud also drew the court’s attention to the fact that counsel to Labour Party and Peter Obi also walked out of the meeting scheduled for the identification of relevant documents, thereby, stalling the progress of the proceedings.
In his reaction, Arabambi said: “Something happened at the election Tribunal yesterday, it is unfortunate that the lead lawyer, will write a letter to INEC that they do not N1,500,000 to pay knowing fully well that the pre hearing session will terminate on Sunday. That means if we fail to do the needful, our petition would be dismissed”
“Now, what was 13 SANs doing till April 17 when they were asked to meet INEC, collect all necessary document only for their lead counsel to say I have just been able to get 30 percent of the documents requested for.
“The INEC led counsel said they invited him on Friday, he said he was at a party. A learned silk, professor Ananaba went in behalf of them,They asked him to come on Monday, they did not show up, Tuesday, they did not show up, only for them to come to court on Wednesday, where Prof. Livy was asking the court for extension
“The court has ruled over yesterday, that they will not extend it, in line with the electoral Act, that it will only take 14 days. And they told them that the court will not sit on Saturday and Sunday. Today is Thursday. We have Friday and Saturday.
“If Peter Obi Cannot afford N1.5 million,then something is happening.
“So how do we now work together, how do we get all these documents and so that we can now go to the hearing session because once we fail to cross the hurdle of the hearing session our petition will be dismissed”, Arabambi alarmed.
On the meeting between Abure and Akpabio, he said what transpired at the party’s national secretariat on Wednesday, has left them confused as to who between the PDP and APC those who received Abure were working for.
His words: Is either Peter Obi and Abure are working for PDP or they are working for APC. They accused our executive of collecting money from APC. Yesterday, Akpabio and the deputy chairman of the All progressive Congress went to visit them and they accepted him. They collected 500 million from them. n
Now what is integrity?
“These are the people the took to court yet Abure entertain Akpabio who wants to be a Senate President.
Meanwhile Abure has called on Nigerians to jettison the antics of the Apapa led faction and its group, saying there’s no faction in Labour Party.
Abure stated this at a press conference he personally addressed at the party’s national secretariat where he declared that he has been reinstalled as the National Chairman of Labour Party following his appeal at the Court of Appeal.
He said Akpabio came on a visit to seek the support of the party and he clearly advised him to work in line with the standing rules of electing presiding officers.
Abure said: “Here’s what I need to put it on record. Clearly that Labor Party was not the only political party that was visited by Senate by Senator Akpabio and his colleagues. I’m aware that it was the general routine to visit all other political parties and I’m sure that they have listed over four or five or six or 10 other political parties.
“That no money exchanged hands as was peddled by these people, should be disregarded”.
Abure who was flanked by other national executive members of the party that were intially suspended by an FCT High Court said he has resumed work and would continue from where he stopped.
He said it has imperative for him to address the press conference on development in the party and the legal issues surrounding the leadership of the party.
He said it was important to state clearly that ‘”Labour Party has only one leadership and that leadership is the National Working Committee led by myself, Barrister Julius Abure.
Abure recounted that how some members of the party allegedly burgled themselves into the office and appointed themselves, four of them, as officers of the party acting on the purported and upon a restraining order, an ex parte order granted by the FCT High Court.
He said: “Our objection to the court jurisdiction was overruled by Justice J. Muazu of FCT High Court on the 12th of May. On the same day, we filled a Notice of Appeal. Then on Wednesday 17th May, the Appeal was entered at the Court of Appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/559/2023.
“Also we have filled our Appellant Brief of Argument which has been served on the trail courts.
By necessary implication the FCT High Court in Maitama ceases to have jurisdiction over the matter. The matter is now on the course list of the Court of Appeal. So, what the High Court judge is expected to do is to adjourn the matter sine-die.
” I and my colleagues have now fully assumed our constitutional responsibilities as National Officers of the Party”, Abure declared.