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Confusion in LP Over Party Leadership

Confusion in LP Over Party Leadership %Post Title













The struggle for the control of Labour Party leadership assumed another dimension last week with the alleged expiration of the tenure of Julius Abure on June 10, as the National Chairman.
An Instagram user, Serah Ibrahim @TheSerahibrahm, posted on June 10: “INEC confirms Labour Party’s embattled Chairman Julius Abure tenure has elapsed on 9th June 2024. States no document or signature from the embattled Chairman would be recognised henceforth until the party produces a National Chairman and National Working Committee in a convention process. “In response to this news, the embattled Chairman has now mounted thugs around the national headquarters of the party to prevent anybody from going in.

“The National Transition Committee of the party has now announced to the public the preparations for the convention would commence immediately.” Sunday Telegraph gathered that Abure and the tenure of other NWC members, which expired last year, was extended by 12 months at National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Asaba, Delta State in June 2023.

The decision of NEC, which it said was in line with article 13 (2) (B) IX of Labour Party constitution, was “in view of recent events in our party, considering the controversies and bad blood generated by elective convention, conscious of the numerous court cases; presidential, governorship, senatorial, and House of Assemblies, the need to remain focused and reorganise the party….” The party, however, held a controversial national convention in Nnewi, Anambra State in March, where Abure was returned as National Chairman. The convention was rejected by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which claimed ownership of the Labour Party, and subsequently set up the National Transition Committee (NTC) led by Abdulwaheed Omar. Although Abure was said to have been suspended by his ward last month, he still perform functions as Labour Party Chairman.

 Sunday Telegraph was unable to confirm the recognised leadership of the party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as series of messages sent to the Chief Press Secretary to the commission’s Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, were not answered. A source, however, told this reporter that INEC normally adopts a policy of noninterference in leadership of any political party. “INEC is aware that there is big crisis in Labour Party but the Chairman has always maintained that the commission should not take sides. “What we do is to encourage them to resolve their differences. As a matter of fact, we have Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, which is ready to assist parties resolve their differences amicably.
 “It is not in the interest of INEC or Nigerians that there should be crisis in opposition parties. We want opposition parties to be strong, so that they can play opposition role to the ruling party, which is good for democracy,” the source stated. A member of the NTC, who asked not to be named, told Sunday Telegraph that, “INEC knows the tenure (of Abure) elapsed on June 10 but no official statement yet; but all stakeholders and insiders are in the know. “How to bridge a leadership vacuum is the issue. “Meetings are ongoing and a statement will be made. What is clear is that Abure’s tenure has elapsed and a vacuum may be created if the needful is delayed by INEC.”

NTC was to address a press conference penultimate Thursday but cancelled it because, according to the source, “we are careful of giving out information. We know Abure has a lot of money to play with. So, we want to be working ahead of him. “As at now, there is no statement from NTC on the matter. We are not too happy with Serah for that thing he posted.” Contacted, Obiora Ifoh, National Publicity Secretary of the Abure faction, said there was nothing on the ground to suggest that Abure was not in charge. Rather, he said that those who were talking about Abure’s tenure were busybodies, who were seeking for relevance.

According to him: “The INEC has accepted our convention. They have acknowledged that we had a convention. The so-called caretaker committee of the NLC has not challenged us in court. They have not challenged Abure’s leadership. Is the NLC a political party? Are the people there registered members of the Labour Party? How can you then take control of an entity you do not belong to? It boils down to seeking relevance and making noise to attract attention. Abure remains the chairman and continues to work with the NWC of the party.

(Sunday Telegraph)
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