In a recent development, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure, has received a reprieve following a judgment from the Edo State High Court.
The court ruling restrained Lamidi Apapa and his executive members from acting as officials of the Labour Party (LP). However, this judgment has led to confusing claims regarding the leadership of the party, with both the Abure-led executive and the Apapa-led faction asserting their legitimacy.
The statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiorah Ifoh, revealed the details of the judgment.
According to the statement, the Edo State High Court judge, Justice Emmanuel Okey Aihamoje, dismissed the notice of suspension against Barrister Julius Abure, which had been issued by some purported Ward Executives.
The judge emphasized that the Ward 3 executive in Uromi lacked the authority, as stipulated by the Labour Party Constitution and the Electoral Act, to remove the national chairman.
The judgment, identified as Suit No: HUC/21/2023, also imposed a perpetual injunction against Lamidi Apapa and his associates, preventing them and any dissident factions from removing or suspending Barrister Julius Abure as the National Chairman until the national convention of the party takes place.
Furthermore, Justice Aihamoje clarified that the roles of ward executives in the Labour Party do not include the suspension of national officers.
Following the statement by the National Publicity Secretary, the Lamidi Apapa-led group promptly dismissed the judgment as a mere academic exercise. The group’s spokesman, Sr. Abayomi Arabambi, argued that the matter was already before the Court of Appeal, nullifying the jurisdiction of the lower court to adjudicate on the case. Arabambi further stated that the recent judgment, while setting aside Abure’s suspension as a ward member, would not affect his suspension as a national officer, as decided by the Labour Party’s highest organ, the NEC.
Arabambi pointed out that the restraining order issued by the FCT High Court, which prohibited Abure from presenting himself as a national officer, was still in effect. Additionally, he highlighted the suspension imposed by the NEC in Bauchi, based on the party’s constitution.
Arabambi emphasized that when a matter is under appeal, no junior court can adjudicate on it until a decision is reached by the appellate court. Therefore, he regarded the Edo State High Court judgment as null and void, as the subject matter was already being appealed before the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The conflicting claims to leadership within the Labour Party have created an atmosphere of uncertainty. The Apapa-led faction maintains that the Edo State High Court lacked jurisdiction to render a judgment on a matter pending before the Court of Appeal.
On the other hand, the Abure-led executive welcomes the judgment as a vindication of their position and reaffirms their commitment to reclaiming the mandate given by the Nigerian masses in the previous presidential election.
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