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State chairmen warn Apapa against screening Labour aspirants for off-cycle elections

Labour Party state chairpersons on Wednesday warned the Lamidi Apapa-led faction not to screen aspirants for off-cycle elections because they remain suspended officials.

Kehinde Rotimi, the Kwara Labour chair, made the call while addressing journalists in Abuja.

Mr Rotimi, chair of the forum of states of Labour Party chairpersons, said that screening was currently ongoing for the off-cycle governorship elections for Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo.

“We were at the screening yesterday when we learnt that some people constituted themselves in the party’s secretariat to screen some candidates for the elections. When we heard that, we said that was an aberration because they don’t have the legal standing to do that,” stated Mr Rotimi.

He explained that “we have our own screening committee” and had screened many aspirants.

“We came here today to meet at our secretariat, but we discovered that it was under lock and key,” added Mr Rotimi.

The Labour chairpersons’ forum leader added that his group resisted the temptation to cause commotion to avoid contempt of court since the matter was now a legal issue.

“If someone goes to court to accuse someone of an offence or crime, the person must be heard according to the provisions of section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” Mr Rotimi further said. “In this case, you accused four principal officers of the party of a very serious offence, but they have not been heard by the court; the next thing we are hearing is they should stop parading themselves as officers of LP.”

Ogboloi Kelly, Edo Labour Party chairman, said the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) was an integral part of the NEC, so it was illegal for a party’s faction to break into its office and install themselves as leaders.

There was pandemonium at the party’s headquarters when a group of seven members of the Labour NWC installed the national vice-chairman (South), Mr Apapa, as the party’s acting chairman to replace the embattled chair Julius Abure.

They said they were acting on the judgment of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, which restrained Mr Abure from parading himself as the party’s leader.

However, the 36 state chairmen of the party forced their way into the party’s headquarters, insisting that Mr Abure remained the party’s leader.

Anslem Eragbe, a former Labour Party youth leader suspended by the NWC, said the Apapa faction was acting on a court judgment.

“They were merely acting in accordance with the party’s constitution. We are worried over the bad treatment meted out on Apapa,” said Mr Eragbe.

(NAN)

 

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