THE leadership of the Labour Party wishes to intimate Nigerians on yet an unholy alliance between the Honourable Minister of State for Labour, Nkiruka Onyejeocha and some expelled members of our party led by Chief Lamidi Apapa, and whose purpose is to ensure that crisis is sustained perpetually in our party.
One may begin to wonder what connects the Minister of States for Labour, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha and the Labour Party that she will go at length to instigate and fund crisis within the party. We are however aware that the former lawmaker is fighting a personal and proxy war against the party.
Onyejeocha has been in the national assembly since 2007 untill the February 25 general election when she was defeated by Hon. Amobi Ogah with a very wide margin. Her lost to Amobi Ogah was a pill too hard to swallow hence she has vowed to use all her connections to ensure that the election declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC is upturned in her favour.
Her political ambition was to be the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives. She has also boasted that powers that be in Aso Rock has promised her the speakership, a position she contested in 2019 but lost to Femi Gbajabiamila, who now is the Chief of Staff in the Tinubu administration. Onyejeocha believes that the Isikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency is her fiefdom, however the result of that election altered all the plans and permutation for Onyejeocha who saw her ambition drifting. For her to be the Speaker she must first win the seat at the Reps and Amobi Ogah was the only stumbling block. Therefore, he must go at all cost.
Onyejeocha with a strong support from the Presidency plotted to be part of the 10th NASS using the instrument of Tribunal. She had worked tirelessly to ensure that the tribunal pronounced her the duly elected member by turning the rules of the election on the head. With her limitless assess to fund, it wasn’t difficult for her to get Amobi Ogah sacked by the Tribunal. Not because he lost election but the trial judge canceled all the votes of the Labour Party on the ground of his membership of the party. Of course, the electoral law has been interpreted by even the Supreme Court to suggest that only a political party has the powers to determine its membership. Nigerians are still wondering what motivated such judgement but the answer is not far-fetched. She simply deployed her huge financial war-chest and bought the judgement.
Not satisfied with the slow pace of the Tribunal route to the National Assembly, Onyejeocha went for the ‘Killer Punch” by using a Federal High Court in Kano to attempt to sack all elected political office holders from Abia State, the governor inclusive. The Kano judgement rattled and quacked the entire political space.
Onyejeocha who connived with some expelled members of the Labour Party led by Lamidi Apapa had applied to be a Joiner in the case but was refused by the judge for filling out of time. However, most of her pleading before the Court, was granted even when the court lacked the locus. It took the ululation from the general public before the matter was upturned by the appellate court.
Not done, Hon Onyejeocha after the ruling of the Tribunal was appealed against and the venue of the sitting moved to Lagos, also initiated a crisis by using her Aso Rock connections to bully officials of INEC into committing a mortal mistake of pitching two Senior Advocates and legal luminaries, J.O Asoluka (SAN) and Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) against each other in an open court on who holds the authourity to represent INEC.
Specifically on the 11th of October, 2023, the INEC Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony in a letter titled LETTER OF INSTRUCTION conveyed the appointment of John Asoluka (SAN) by INEC to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division on behalf of the Commission against the decision of the Abia State National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in No. EPT/AB/HR/8/2023 — HON. NKEIRUKA CHIDUBEM ONYEJEOCHA & ANOR VS. INEC & 2 ORS.
But in a twist of event, INEC went further to engage the services of Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) on thesame matter before the Appeal Court. We sincerely believe that INEC was everything but independent as the commission acted helplessly and as a body being dictated to by unseen forces. However, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) on the 17th of October in a letter to the Commission wrote to withdraw his representation in the two appeals before the Court of Appeal on the ground that “the Commission had already briefed another law firm to represent/or defend it.”
However, on the following day at the commencement of the matter before the Appeal Court, a lawyer from the firm of Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) unknown to the Senior Counsel surfaced even when the Asoluka and his team were already seated to represent the INEC. The desperation by the lawyers from the firm of Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) to insist on representing INEC even when the firm had already written to INEC withdrawing its services stoke our curiousness, even as the embarrassed Ustaz Usman completely distanced himself from actions not known to him.
On further investigation, we realized that INEC failed to release this letter written on the 17th by the firm of Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) withdrawing from the case. The letter only surfaced after the unfortunate incident at the Appeal Court. So we are wondering if there was any threat from high places against officials of the INEC preventing them from making the letter public.
We also took special note of the presence of Apapa led splinter group who attempted to hijack the representation of the party at the court. How did this splinter group come into the scenario, who got them involved and for what purpose. Thesame group engaged by Onyejeocha to shop for judgement in a Kano court. It is a known fact that these group have evolved as meddlesome interlopers and have severally worked against the larger interest of the Labour Party even when Supreme Court has refused them recognition.
Labour Party and its candidate are in the Appeal Court to ask it to reject the judgement by the Abia State National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal and which cancelled the victory of the party and its candidate, Amobi Ogah relying on the results generated and tendered by the Petitioner, the APC candidate as against the result generated by the INEC. How can that be possible?
The onus falls on INEC to defend the resulted it generated from the election and Asoluka (SAN) has the brief to defend INEC’s result. Who then influenced the decision to remove him?
Labour Party is also aware of the proxy war engaged by Onyejeocha for her principals who benefit bountifully from the artificial crisis in the party. Labour Party bruised the ego of the ruling party in the last general election and it was believed in their cycle that a divided Labour Party will be week to stage a claim to their mandate. Onyejeocha was allegedly chosen by the APC leader in the South East and the Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma as a conduit to fund the dissidents. The party is also not unaware of her roles in denying Labour Party her victory in Enugu state through her kinsmen who served as Electoral Officer and the Returning Officer in Enugu state.
We are worried that millions of Naira was allegedly budgeted by Onyejeocha to sustain the crisis in the Labour Party by funding Apapa and his cohorts, and particularly to ensure that Amobi Ogah is removed from the House of Representatives. These monies which ought to be channeled to help alleviate scorching poverty in her Constituency is been thrown around all in her inordinate quest for power.
The question that has not been answered is, why the obsession for power. It is practically impossible for Onyejeocha to be speaker again at least under this 10th Assembly as offices have since been distributed. What does she hope to gain in ensuring and sustaining crisis in Labour Party by massively funding Apapa and his gang.
In conclusion, we are therefore calling on the present government to relieve Onyejeocha of her ministerial role as she has lost focus, and since she has refused to concentrate on the assignment given to her.
We also urge security agencies including Police, DSS, EFCC and ICPC to invite Onyejeocha for questioning over her role in funding insurrection in the Labour Party, bullying of INEC staffers, manipulating the judiciary and also helping to stoke political crisis in Nigeria.
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