The Labour Party (LP) has raised the alarm over what it calls the “ignoble antics” of the suspended deputy national chairman, Lamidi Apapa, who it alleged has approached election petition tribunals where the LP has pending cases, asking for withdrawal of the cases.
The party also urged the Nigeria police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest Lamidi and his cohorts, as it labeled them as “enemies of democracy”.
LP also disclosed that the embattled party officials equally approached tribunals where its presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Peter Obi, instituted litigations over the conduct of the poll, praying to withdraw Obi’s case.
A statement by the party on Tuesday further disclosed that contrary to the allegation of being an impostor leveled against the acting Labour Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, by the expulsed former Spokesman, Abayomi Arabambi, the National Executive Council (NEC) had ratified Obiora’s appointment in its recent Asaba convention.
The statement signed by the acting national publicity secretary read, “Daily, the evil intention of the breakaway faction of the Labour Party, led by the suspended Deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, continues to manifest and just this morning, our legal team was confronted by the stark revelation that these men have advanced their plot by approaching all the tribunals where our numerous candidates lodged their election petitions arising from the recently held general election.
“Alongside Lamidi Apapa on the plot to frustrate Labour Party’s destined victory in the tribunals and also to derail the fledgling democracy are some of the suspended members including Samuel Akingbade, Gbenga Daramola, Anselem Eragbe and Abayomi Arabambi, erstwhile national legal adviser, national financial secretary, national youth leader and national publicity secretary, respectively among others.
“Recall that the leadership of the Labour Party has been swimming through the murky waters of conspiracy, treachery and sabotage orchestrated by these former officers of the party.
“We had long suspected that moles were planted to sabotage the efforts of the party to offer Nigerians an alternative to the wicked and clueless governance in place today, but the desperation to satisfy their pay master is beginning to threaten our common peace and of course our democracy.
“Approaching the tribunals to withdraw all the cases lodged by Labour Party candidates across board is the height of subterfuge and treachery, and Nigerians will resist this ploy to plunge the nation into unnecessary turmoil.
“Their actions show that they are working against the party and that they are working to destroy the party.
“If they claim that they have a problem with the national leadership of the party, will they also claim that they have a problem with the candidates of the party?
“What offence have the candidates of the party committed that they are now moving around to withdraw their matters from the tribunal”, the statement queried.
Accordingly, Labour Party through the statement called on the tribunals to “disregard any letter emanating from our suspended National Legal Adviser, Samuel Akingbade, to the effect that all our cases are to be withdrawn.
“We are also calling on the presidential election tribunal to disregard such letters from these ex-officials of our party asking for the withdrawal of HE Peter Obi’s petition.
“We also call on the Police, DSS and EFCC to quickly apprehend and question these agents of destruction before they succeed in igniting the nation”.
It revealed further that “shortly after the general election, the party had written to all the relevant bodies including the INEC of its intention to hold its NEC in line with the provision of the law. It also informed the DSS and Police of that intention”.
It explained that the current acting national publicity secretary was consequently elected to fill the vacancy created by the expulsion of Arabambi, at its Asaba NEC meeting which had in attendance “all stakeholders including the state chairmen and their secretaries, zonal officers, owners and trustees of the party including NLC and TUC, some elected members of the party as well as the leader and presidential candidate of the party, amongst others.
“Article 14(2) b, section XIV of the Labour Party constitution on the powers and function of the NEC states, ‘To fill vacancies in the NWC as they may occur from time to time in between national convention; also section XV states, ‘To take disciplinary action against any member or organ of the party as it may seem fit in the interest of the party.
“All relevant government agencies including NEC were present where I was unanimously elected. It is even ludicrous that an imposter who committed crime and forged signatures upon which he has been suspended over six months ago and for him to turn around to be calling people imposter, I wonder who the imposter here is.
“Let me refresh your memory. At a press conference held at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja six months ago, the then National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi, explained to newsmen that Eragbe’s suspension was informed by allegations of ‘forgery, issuance of certificates to groups unknown to the leadership of the party without the approval of the National Working Committee or the national chairman, the launch of a fund mobilisation website to receive funds without the approval of the National Working Committee or the national chairman’ and sending official letters ‘to some individuals without the approval of the National Working Committee or the national chairman’.
“Abayomi described the actions of the national youth leader as ‘gross misconduct, disobedience to the constitution of the Labour Party and other acts.’
“While accusing him of anti-party activities, he said the suspension will last for six months and that will depend on how Eragbe conducts himself while the suspension lasts.”
He said: “In essence, he seems more to be working against the aspiration of our presidential candidate. Ever since he became our senatorial candidate in Edo State, he has been hobnobbing with our major foe and that alone is an act that cannot be condoned by the leadership of this party.
“Is this the character one will be taking seriously? I am the current national publicity secretary and the resolution of the NEC has already been filed with relevant authorities. We urge the media to ignore the ranting of this exposed and disgraced former youth leader”.