The crisis rocking the Labour Party, on Thursday, worsened as seven members of its National Working Committee named the National Vice-Chairman (South), Lamidi Bashir Apapa, as the acting chairman of the party in place of the suspended National chairman, Julius Abure.
Already, heavily armed police officers have taken over the secretariat of the party.
Apapa, who spoke after an emergency meeting held at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, said the NWC members acted on the judgement of the Federal Capital Territory High Court which restrained Abure from parading himself as the LP national chairman.
Abure and three other officials of the party were restrained by the court over alleged forgery.
The presiding judge, Justice Hamza Muazu also ordered that the originating processes of the court be served on the restrained officials – Abure, the National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim; the National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara; and the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu.
The judge held that the ex parte application for an interim injunction restraining the four officials by aggrieved members of the LP before the court has merit and granted the same.
Apapa added that the NWC also reviewed the suspension of party members and exco that had earlier been suspended by the party leadership.
The three other officials restrained were also replaced by Alhaji Saleh Lawal- acting National Secretary; Rowland Daramola- acting Treasurer, and Prince Reuben Favour – acting Organising Secretary.
Apapa stated, “The NWC equally reviewed that recently there are some cases of suspensions that were badly handled. And this National Working Committee meeting has reviewed them, and the suspension all over are hereby reviewed and the officers are reinstated.
“With effect from now, the so-called officers who the court had barred should not parade themselves as officers of the party until cases against them are treated or handled by the party.”
The acting national chairman also denied the allegation that the party had been taken over by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
He stressed that the current leadership believed so much in the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi.
But Abure, in an earlier statement, raised the alarm, accusing the APC of using thugs and a detachment of the Police to invade the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
The embattled LP chairman claimed that the invaders, who were armed, reportedly pulled down the fences, burglar proofs, doors and windows to have access to the secretariat and in the process sacked workers and party members.
Abure stated, “Though, I was out of town but information has it that the agenda of the Invaders was to inaugurate an illegitimate executive which has been chosen for them by their sponsors.
“This incident is coming days after a similar invasion in our Imo state Secretariat which up till now is still being occupied by the agents of the Imo state government.
“Only yesterday (Wednesday), our presidential candidate, Peter Obi through the LP Presidential Campaign Council alerted Nigerians of a plot to hound him out of the country over APC’s covert plot in collaboration with some security agents to frame him up allegedly on matters bothering on treason.
“Labour Party is only a political party which is contesting for power. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has conducted an election that ranked us third, a position we have rejected and have approached the Tribunal to contest. That is our only offence.
“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his party, the APC to order and also rein them in from using unorthodox means to suffocate political structures in Nigeria.”