Tensions are on the rise within the Labour Party as conflicting claims emerge following a recent ruling by an Appeal Court in Owerri, the capital of Imo State. The dispute centers around the leadership of the party and the legitimacy of its respective factions, led by Julius Abure and Lamidi Apapa.
In a twist of interpretations, the Apapa-led faction asserts that the Appeal Court dismissed Julius Abure as the National Chairman and recognized their own candidate as the rightful chairperson. However, the Abure-led Labour Party has swiftly labeled these assertions as false information.
According to sources aligned with the Apapa faction, the Appeal Court purportedly not only invalidated the candidates sponsored by the Abure-led National Working Committee but also endorsed Apapa’s leadership of the party.
Countering these claims, Labour Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, issued a statement in Abuja that provides a different perspective on the court’s ruling.
Ifoh clarified, “It is another devastating blow for the Lamidi Apapa-led dissident group as the Court of Appeal Owerri, sitting in Abuja today, Thursday August 24, 2023 dismissed the appeal filed by one Mr Basil Maduka, who is contending for the Labour Party governorship candidacy for Imo state.”
He further explained that the Appeal Court ruled that the appeal filed by the Labour Party was unnecessary, as the decision of the trial court favored their position. The court emphasized that comments made by the trial judge were not to be considered a judgment, urging their dismissal.
The Labour Party had sought the Court of Appeal’s intervention to set aside the remarks made by the trial court in the Federal High Court Owerri. Additionally, they informed the court that Senator Athan Achonu emerged as the victor in the party’s primaries.
Ifoh went on to address what he called the “attention-seeking camp of Lamidi Apapa,” accusing them of distorting the clear judgment of the appellate court to advance their narrative.
He clarified that neither the Federal High Court Owerri nor the Court of Appeal Owerri had issued any orders beyond dismissing the plaintiff’s case due to a lack of locus standi (legal standing). Consequently, Senator Athan Achonu retained his position as the validly nominated candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 Imo governorship election.
Amidst the turmoil, Ifoh affirmed the settlement of the gubernatorial ticket issue, backed by the Court of Appeal judgment and the endorsements of key party figures. Senator Achonu’s campaign has officially begun, bringing clarity to the party’s direction.
This internal strife follows another recent Court of Appeal ruling in Benin City, affirming Julius Abure as the National Chairman of the Labour Party. The court’s decision nullified previous actions taken against Abure, emphasizing that the authority to suspend the national chairman cannot rest with a single individual.