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Apapa Faction Makes U-turn, Backs Abure As LP Chair

Julius Abure and Lamidi Apapa

A year after the leadership of the opposition Labour Party was separated with the incumbent National Chairman, Julius Abure and the Deputy National Chairman of the party (South), Lamidi Apapa laying claim to the mantle of leadership, both camps have agreed to sheath their swords and work together.

Loyalists from both camps were torn apart in April 2023 following a court judgment restraining Abure and three others from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

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But Abure fought back fiercely to retain his seat with the help of the parent body, Nigeria Labour Congress, under the leadership of its National President, Joe Ajaero.

The embattled LP chairman, however, fell out of favour with the NLC following a contentious national convention held in Anambra that returned him and all his loyal members of the National Working Committee to office three months ago.

Despite a series of picketing at LP secretariats nationwide and other threats by the unionists amid calls for an expansive and inclusive convention that should start from the grassroots, Abure did not budge.

The action subsequently compelled the NLC Political Commission to void the new leadership and set up a transition committee, saddled with the task of engaging stakeholders of the party and conducting a fresh convention in 90 days.

A source at the LP national secretariat, who preferred anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, explained that Abure felt the urgent need to close rank with the Lamidi Apapa’s faction following the open revolt and media war from its Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi as well as the pressure from the NLC.

“It is the only logical way for him to have a united front against the threat of the NLC in particular. I believe you already know Abure has a long history with Lamidi Apapa and Abayomi Arabambi before now,” the source explained.

When The PUNCH contacted the Apapa’s camp, the factional spokesman, Abayomi Arabambi, confirmed the development.

Arabambi told our reporter that they had no problem with Abure from the outset because they knew he was being influenced and misled by some leading officers of the NLC.

He said, “We are together to stop all those political hawks from taking over our party. We thought they (NLC) were fighting for a just cause. But it is very obvious they only want to take over our party and we are not going to accept that. We in the Lamidi Apapa group are not lawbreakers like those who supported Abure in disobeying the court order. I have said this several times on air.

“It was because of this threat that Abure extended an olive branch for all of us to bond together. It was obvious that these people were not only with him to fight us but to take over the control of the party. So we cannot be outside and allow some people to take over our party. That was why Abure asked us to come together in the party’s interest.

“We are here to fight those people who want to use the Labour Party to foment trouble and destabilize the country. That is what we are against. Nobody is contesting or running for any election now. We know the next race is in 2027. Why should we now be seeking ways to bring the nation down? We are averse to that.”

He added, “I also want you to know that there is nothing like Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign here anymore. It has been dissolved. Everybody has reverted to former governorship and presidential candidate. We don’t want disinformation at the Labour Party.

“Again, you recall that there was a crisis in APC and the PDP. Yet, the warring parties came together and resolved it. So what stopped us from resolving ours? When you are fighting, there is no permanent enemy. It is all about permanent interest.”

Efforts to get Abure to react to the report were unsuccessful.

But the National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifoh, also confirmed the reunion, saying there was nothing out of place for Abure to extend olive branches to aggrieved members of the party.

He said, “Labour Party is united. We do not have a division in the sense that as a party that came out of the election hugely successful with a lot of results to show, several people would want to have a stake in the Labour Party. The implication is that a lot of stone-throwing and interest will begin to manifest. But the Labour Party has a constitution and it has a rule completely spelt out.

“Anybody that tries to go out of it will get his hand burnt because the law will not support what you are doing just as the NLC is doing. Besides, we have never seen the Lamidi Apapa people as having their camp because there’s only one camp. That is the one led by Julius Abure.

“Of course, they have the right to be aggrieved and take positions that are not aligned with the interest of the party. But as soon as they discovered it was not the right way, I think they took the better decision to begin to retrace their steps. That is what we have seen.”

He stated further, “Many people who were involved in anti-party activities in the past are beginning to discover that the laws are not on their side. The best thing is to retrace their steps and return to the fold.

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