Tinubu: Is Apapa, Abure's Fight Threat to Peter Obi's Anticipated Victory in Court? Details Emerge

Tinubu: Is Apapa, Abure's Fight Threat to Peter Obi's Anticipated Victory in Court? Details Emerge

  • Pa Lamidi Apapa continues to insist that he is the authentic national chairman of the Labour Party
  • Recall that Pa Apapa had a torrid time at the presidential election petition tribunal in Abuja recently
  • The tribunal is hearing the case brought against President Bola Tinubu by Peter Obi of the Labour Party

FCT, Abuja - The crisis in the Labour Party (LP) caused by the leadership tussle between Julius Abure's faction and that of Lamidi Apapa has continued to threaten the anticipated victory of the party's presidential candidate, Peter Obi, at the tribunal.

Obi is challenging Bola Tinubu’s victory as Nigeria’s president in court.

Tinubu/Peter Obi news today
Lamidi Apapa had threatened to expose Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of LP, in the last elections. Photo credits: @PeterObi, @OfficialLamidiA, and @officialABAT
Source: Twitter

Labour Party, PDP's cases against Tinubu

The Labour Party and Peter Obi are in court over alleged infractions in the election and have asked the court to nullify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) result, which announced a former Lagos state governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president-elect.

PAY ATTENTION: Share your outstanding story with our editors! Please reach us through info@corp.legit.ng!

Obi and the LP have raised some objections against the declaration of Tinubu, who emerged as the winner under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

They have filed that Tinubu, having been allegedly prosecuted for drug offences in the United States, should not have contested in the first place and must be disqualified.

The Labour Party and its candidates are also arguing that Tinubu failed to garner 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory, and should not have been declared winner of the election. The party also gave other reasons, including what it termed obvious manipulation of the exercise.

Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and its candidates are also in court to challenge the process that led to the declaration of the former Lagos governor as the president-elect.

PDP, with over 100 witnesses lined up to knock off Tinubu's declaration, has pointed at many alleged infractions during the exercise and has asked the court to annul the exercise. There are also cases in court requesting that the May 29 inauguration of the president-elect be suspended until the various petitions are determined.

LP at the centre of attention

But at the centre of attention as activities resumed at the election petition tribunal in Abuja, is the Labour Party which is now entangled in a leadership quagmire.

While the Apapa's faction is claiming leadership of the party, the Abure group has remained dogged, insisting they are firmly in charge of the party. The development has led to litigations and counter-litigations by both factions.

Court cases, rulings

Already, an order of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory had asked Abure to stop acting as the chairman of the party. Consequent upon the order, Apapa has declared himself as the authentic national chairman of the party. But the Labour Party under Abure had approached the Appeal Court, insisting that having gone to a higher court status quo should be maintained pending the outcome of the case. With this argument, Abure continues to insist he remains in charge of the crisis-ridden party.

Addressing journalists at a world press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Abure said all officials of his faction have returned to the secretariat following a motion for stay at the Court of Appeal. He further dismissed rumours of an existing faction in the party.

He said a purported restraining order was abused by Apapa and his group, who, out of desperation, appointed themselves as party leaders without waiting for the outcome of the final judgement at the FCT High Court.

This was after Lamidi Apapa and the Abure group clashed in court over who is the true representative of the party.

There are now concerns that the factions in the party could affect the outcome of Peter Obi and the Labour Party's case having openly displayed in court that there is a leadership crisis.

Analysts take on Abure, Apapa's fight

Analysts believe that the court cannot continue to use its discretion to allow one faction to continue to represent the party in court.

According to them, it means that if there is an objection or an application demanding the striking out of the case due to the crisis in the party, a judge may be forced to consider such an application.

According to John Adejor, a public affairs analyst and a part-time lecturer in Abuja:

"I understand that every political party has its own crisis, but displaying openly in court that the party not in a collective legal battle against APC may be of great disadvantage.
"While I believe the Lamidi Apapa's faction was sponsored to disrupt the case against Bola Tinubu of the APC, I believe the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi would have found a way to resolve the matter and put to shame those behind the crisis.
"This is part of the politics we are talking about. Everyone comes up with a game that can work for them. That is what some persons have done through Lamidi. To end this crisis so it doesn't affect the outcome of Labour Party and Peter Obi in Court, the party and its candidate must play a deeper politics and find a way to end the dispute. This can't be done in the media or through protest."

"How many times have you seen Lamidi's alleged sponsors cheering him or working with him openly? This politics is played behind the scene, and one would expect LP to approach this matter from behind the scene. There must be a way out. They can settle this matter."

APC sponsoring Apapa - LP

It has been speculated that the All Progressives Congress, APC, is sponsoring Apapa in order to scuttle the move by the party to reclaim its acclaimed victory in the last election.

Similarly, the Director General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, at one time said the APC was sponsoring Lamidi Apapa, to destabilize the party and to have its way at the tribunal. Osuntokun made the allegation during an interview on Channels TV.

Apapa denies sponsorship by APC

But Apapa has since denied the allegation, saying his fight was merely to reclaim his position as the national chairman of the party, saying he was not being sponsored by anybody.

He stressed:

“Nobody is sponsoring me to destroy the LP, how can I even do such a thing to a party I helped developed over 20 years ago? I am a founding member of the LP and since I joined, I have never for once left it for another party.”

Apapa's matter won't affect Labour Party, Obi - Spokesman

But speaking on whether the development would affect the outcome of the case at the tribunal, the Labour Party's campaign spokesman, Tanko Yunusa, had exclusively told Legit.ng that those referred to as a faction of the LP have no locus standi with regard to the case.

He said:

"Just like I said, they don't even have the locus standi at all in the first place. They are not recognized leaders of the party. The case has two angles. The plaintiffs are Peter Obi himself and the Labour Party, and apart from that, they don't have any jurisdiction over Labour Party at all."

Why Apapa, Abure's fight won't affect Labour Party, Peter Obi's case - Lawyer

To popular Port Harcourt lawyer and rights activist, Barrister Adoyi Abakpa, the appearance of Lamidi Apapa and Julius Abure in court is immaterial to the matter in court as it stands, hence it cannot affect the case already filed.

He argued that the case already has legal representatives who are standing in for the party and that none of the two factions can stop the representatives already recognized by the court.

He said:

"The political party which is Labour Party is a legal personality of its own and the matter is already in court. The person who is representing it, either factional or not factional, as far as that person is claiming to be Labour Party in person, it doesn't affect anything.
"This is because it's an internal problem which doesn't affect the case already instituted. If they had not filed a suit before now, and then one of the factions wants to file the suit, and subsequently it is discovered that the person who filed the suit has no authority to do so, that is when it will affect the case."

Barrister Adoyi reiterated that as it is now, anybody can appear as the legal representative as appointed from the onset which will not affect the outcome of their case.

Apapa gives condition to meet with Tinubu

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the Labour Party (LP) factional chairman, Lamidi Apapa, gave a reason that would make him honour an invitation for dialogue from the president, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Speaking on Arise TV’s Morning Show on Thursday, May 18, Apapa said he will honour an invitation by Tinubu, provided the executive of the party, LP, agree.

Source: Legit.ng

Online view pixel