Factional leader of the Labour Party (LP), Bashiru Lamidi Apapa has dismissed with a wave of hands, the insinuations gaining ground that he is being sponsored by the President-elect, Bola Tinubu in order to destroy the party.
The denial is coming in the background of tense controversies over the leadership of the factionalized Labour Party between Lamidi Apapa and Julius Abure.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the LP led by Apapa, however, reiterated its commitment to pursuing, to a logical conclusion, the petition of the party before the Presidential Election Tribunal.
Bashir Lamidi Apapa who addressed members of the NEC in Bauchi on Wednesday at Sulgad Hotel, in his capacity as the Acting National Chairman, said that the Party is solidly behind the Presidential candidate, Peter Obi and will continue to support him to reclaim the mandate.
He stressed that, “Nobody is sponsoring me to destroy the LP, how can I even do such a thing to a party I helped developed over 20 years ago? I am a founding member of the LP and since I joined, I have never for once leave it for another party.”
Going down memory lane, Lamidi Apapa said, “I just laughed when it was reported that our Presidential candidate, Peter Obi was reported to have said that he does not know me. Well, he just joined us about one year ago, but, we went round for his campaigns on same plane across the country.”
Lamidi Apapa further said that there has never been a plan to withdraw the petition saying, “We believe in the mandate and we will do everything possible to reclaim it no matter how long it takes to do that.”
On the faction within the party, he said it is a normal thing in democracy stressing however that it is only a few fragments that is talking about faction because according to him, “There is no faction in the Labour Party, we are all one as you can see here. Everyone who matters in the LP is here in Bauchi for the NEC meeting.”
He stressed that the Labour Party remains the strongest and most followed political party in Nigeria today as was seen in the results of the last general elections assuring that the party will continue to grow and wax stronger.
He then advised those parading themselves as factional leaders of the party to desist from doing so having been barred by a Federal High Court in Abuja until the determination of the substantive case before the Court.
According to him, “Barr Julius Abure has since continued with grave impunity in contempt of the FCT High Court restraining order by conducting illegal National Executive Council meeting on 28th April, 2023 in Asaba, Delta state which resolutions have been declared null and void and of no consequences to the extent of its inconsistency with the FCT High Court Restraining order.”
He added that” Abure also indulged in the conduct of illegal gubernatorial primaries in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa stated which outcomes have been declared null and void and of no consequences to the extent of its inconsistency with the FCT High Court Restraining order.”
Lamidi Apapa also called on the Presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi to watch his words in order to create an unnecessary tension within the party stressing that what is needed now is how to collectively fight the legal battle of reclaiming the presidential mandate.
The Acting National Chairman of the LP commended the NEC members from across the country for finding it expedient to attend the meeting which he claimed was the authentic meeting unlike the one held in Asaba which he said was unconstitutional.
He said that “the recent events in our party, with the advent of the 2023 general election, propelled the Labour Party (LP) as the third most influential political party in Nigeria by reason of the gains in our electoral victory in the 2023 General
elections in Nigeria.”
According to him, “while the outcome of the 2023 presidential and national elections are commendable, we are also certainly challenging the outcome of the
presidential and some national and states elections in the presidential election
petition tribunal and other election petition tribunals in Nigeria.”
“Let me state categorically, that the Labour Party LP under my leadership is
committed lawfully to pursue the matter in the presidential election tribunal to a logical end, contrary to the wide spread speculations that I wanted to withdraw the matter from the courts.”
Lamidi Apapa assured that, “Labour Party under my leadership recognizes Mr. Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate but will not support any move by any member of our great party to undermine the unity and peace of our country. Labour Party under my leadership shall not support any
unconstitional change of Government by anyone no matter how highly placed.”
He also said that,”Labour Party under my leadership shall accept the outcome of the presidential election petition tribunal up to the Supreme Court.”
Earlier, the National Legal Adviser of the LP, Barr Akingbade Oyelekan said that the Labour Party will not be distracted by those elements who are bent in destroying the good movement for emancipation started by the party many years ago.
Akingbade Oyelekan insisted that the Lamidi Apapa led faction is the authentic leadership of the party as recognised by the Constitution of the party stressing that anything to the contrary is a nulity.
According to him, “All of us in this hall are members of the LP, nobody from the PDP, NNPP or APC, therefore, there is no faction. All we are doing is to ensure that the due process was followed and adhered to by all.”
The National Legal Adviser also stressed that the leadership of the LP under Bashiru Lamidi Apapa is ever ready to pursue the ongoing legal battle at the presidential election tribunal to its conclusion saying that there is no truth in the insinuation that the petition will be withdrawn.
He then urged members of the NEC to ensure that they remained united behind Lamidi Apapa urging them also to support him in order to take the party to greater heights in the country.