A Valid National Chairman Of Labour Party Must Emerge In Accordance With Party’s Constitution, By Chief Tom Anyafulude

WE are constrained to espouse the illegality and rascality in which Labour Party is currently immersed. This inclination is informed by recent development whereby, an FCT High Court elongated its retraining order ex-parte against the Chairman of Labour Party and some other officials from parading themselves as such.

Crisis deepens as Labour Party suspends Lamidi Apapa, appoints acting  executives

Sequel to this development, one Mr. Lamidi Apapa, publicly declared, “I am now in charge”. He then proceeded to summon all legal practitioners representing Labour Party and Mr. Peter Obi in the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to report and brief him before 48 hours!

This domestic problem of Labour Party is unnecessarily heating up the polity with claims and counter-claim by the opposing parties. We shall therefore endeavour to enlighten the general public on the true state of the Law in view of Labour Party’s Constitution.

i. Only the National Convention of Labour Party Can Appoint or Remove National Chairman of the Party
The National Convention of Labour Party is the highest organ of the party. See Article 13 of Constitution of Labour Party. The National Convention is composed of the National Chairman and all members of the National Executive Committee/Council including the NLC and TUC Presidents and General Secretaries, all political appointees on the platform of Labour Party at Federal, State and Local Government levels, Delegates elected by the congress of each State within the Federation including the FCT. See Article 14 (supra).

The National Convention holds once in four years. One of its major functions is to elect or remove the national officers of the Party and constitute the National Executive Council of the Party. See Article 14(1)(b)(iv) (supra). It also exercises control and takes disciplinary action on all organs, Officers and members of the Party and determine appeals brought before it by any member or organ of the party.

Significantly, the National Chairman of Labour Party, who is one of the National Officers can only be removed by the National Convention, unlike in other political parties, where the Ward Executive or Congress can suspend or remove a National Officer.

ii. Special National Convention of Labour Party.
Not withstanding the provision of Article 13(1) of the Constitution, there shall be Special National Convention to address specific issues concerning the Party when the need arises. See Article 14(1)(c) (supra).


iv. What is the Status of Lamidi Apapa?
Lamidi Apapa described himself as acting National Chairman. There is no provision in Labour Party’s Constitution which created the office of acting National Chairman. Secondly, Lamidi Apapa was not elected by the National Convention nor the Special National Convention of Labour Party. The Labour Party did not take any resolution on the fate of Julius Abure based on the restraining orders of the FCT High Court. Lamidi Apapa has no locus standi or capacity to act as a Factional Chairman of Labour Party.

v. Closing Reflection
In our view, Mr Lamidi Apapa can only emerge as valid National Chairman of Labour Party in accordance with the Party’s Constitution. We are surprised that with the galaxy of brilliant legal practitioners in Labour Party, nobody has deem it necessary to drag Mr Lamidi Apapa to court to stop him from parading himself as the National Chairman of Labour Party. Whoever aspires to the chairmanship position of the party must do so in accordance with the party’s Constitution.

An action in court against Mr Lamidi Apapa will not constitute an abuse of court process for violating the party’s Constitution and claiming what he is not.

Finally, all this fuss would have been avoided if common legal principles were correctly applied. Can a Court of Justice restrain a party from acting in a position based on criminal allegation in which he has not been indicted or convicted? What of the Constitutional presumption of innocence under S.36 of the 1999 Constitution? Can a Court of law make a final order of suspending a party from acting in a particular position when that Party was not given opportunity to be heard? See Kotoye v. C.B.N. (1985) 1 NWLR (Pt. 98) 419.

We are lawyers who have practiced law in Nigeria for more than 33 years but we are becoming increasingly confused and perplexed by recent decisions in some of our courts.

Now, let’s due on the facts on ground. What the offences or constitutional infractions committed by Barrister Julius Abure, either against the Labour Party or its members? Why should it be the preoccupation of lazy politicians, particularly from Edo State to pull down their own while the whole world is celebrating Comrade Abure midwifing strong and acceptable opposition political party?

Over the last twenty years, Comrade has been building the Labour Party, alongside many progressive visionary patriotic labour adherents and politicians with the sole mandate to return governance back to the people and citizens of Nigeria. From the position of Assistant Secretary of Edo State Labour Party chapter, he rose and became elected as the State Secretary. From there, he became Deputy National Secretary, National Secretary and, ultimately the National Chairman.

Before Barrister Abure got elected as the party’s National Chairman, the Labour Party was faced with litany of challenges. The party was unable to pay members of staff salaries and entitlements for several months as well as many years of unpaid rents because those who held the office before he was elected could not muster the necessary connections, strategic planning and needed characters and the will power to reposition the party. Barrister was able to fix all the these crises before Mr Peter Obi joined Labour Party.

Today, the Labour Party has shattered the feudal dominance of the APC/PDP as two parties state with 36 House of Representatives members; over 50 elected House of Assembly members, Six elected Senators and a Governor.

But for the APC rigging machine; the widespread maiming and unmitigated killing of electorates who refused to vote for their party, the Labour Party would have won fair and square with the original results uploaded into INEC showing that Labour Party won over 15 states.

To this end, Comrade Barrister Julius Abure deserves veneration, instead of vilification for championing a new narration towards the new Nigeria project and for lifting the Labour Party from zero to zenith.