The leadership crisis rocking the Labour Party deepened on Tuesday as it suspended a factional leader, Lamidi Apapa, its national deputy chairman (South) and other officials.
The party appointed acting executive members according to a statement signed by Ladi Iliya, national deputy chairperson and Kenedy Ahanotu, deputy national secretary.
They stated that the decision was taken at a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Asaba and attended by members of the National Working Committee.
Also in attendance at the Asaba meeting were state chairmen and secretaries of the party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
The party’s federal lawmakers-elect also attended the Asaba meeting, including officials of INEC, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The statement added that the NEC reaffirmed and upheld the decision of the Akure convention, which expelled its former publicity secretary Arabambi Abayomi.
“NEC considered the disciplinary committee’s report, which recommended the suspension of the former youth leader, Mr Anslem Eragbe and recommended him for expulsion at the next national convention. Pending the next convention, NEC suspends Eragbe indefinitely,” the party’s NEC stated.
It added, “NEC also suspended the following National Working Committee (NWC) members: Lamidi Apapa, Alhaji Salem Lawal, Favour Reuben, Gbenga Daramola, Samuel Akingbade and Mohammed Akali.”
The NEC constituted a disciplinary committee comprising the national youth leader, Kennedy Ahanotu, acting national publicity secretary, Obiora Ifoh, and acting national legal adviser, Edun Kehinde, as members. It listed other members as the acting deputy national secretary, Rotimi Kehinde and the national vice-chairman (South-South), Anthony Ezeagwu.
The NEC also evaluated the 2023 general elections and noted INEC’s failure to transmit election results in real-time from polling units, which gave room for “massive manipulation.”
The party condemned electoral violence and the use of security agencies to intimidate voters and perpetrate other crimes in parts of the country.
“NEC noted the resilience and doggedness of our presidential candidate and its resolve to legitimately reclaim its mandate in court. NEC accordingly calls on the judiciary to do the right thing irrespective of whose ox is gored,” said the statement.
It stressed its implicit confidence in Julius Abure-led NWC.
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