Labour Party crisis: Obi’s petition adjourned
On Wednesday in the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja, the Labour Party (LP)’s leadership crisis assumed a new dimension as the two factions engaged in a bloody brawl that nearly claimed the life of the party’s acclaimed national chairman, Bashiru Lamidi Apapa.
After the court proceedings, when Apapa was practically overrun by party faction members on the court grounds, a brawl broke out.
About 100 police officers had to work together to save Apapa from being lynched by thugs hired by factional members who behaved badly.
Apapa, who was wearing a brown agbada and brown headgear to the Court, was repeatedly jerked up by the assailants, but the Police quickly carried him to safety after his rescue.
He was unable to address the newsmen because of the throng, which was yelling unprintable obscenities at Apapa.
However, a brawl between factions loyal to Abure and Apapa outside the courthouse that nearly resulted in the breakdown of law and order broke out.
Bloodshed was avoided by the deployment of the heavy security personnel already stationed at the court to the scene of the altercation.
The Labour Party crisis continues today at the Election Tribunal were the two factions had earlier fought one another inside the courtroom for recognition and for being listed as the legitimate representatives of the Labour Party, which is the second petitioner.
Peter Obi introduced himself as the first petitioner at the start of the day’s proceedings, and Mrs. Dudu Maluga, who identified herself as the party’s national women’s leader, introduced herself as the LP’s representative.
Lamidi Apapa, who was seated across from Peter Obi, leaped to his feet almost immediately and proclaimed himself the party’s official representative and acting national chairman.
In the ensuing drama, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, the court’s chairman, decided that none of the groups would be acknowledged or listed as the representatives of the Labour Party.
Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the election held on February 25, remained silent throughout Apapa and Maluda’s power struggle.
In addition, Julius Abure, the party’s suspended national chairman, who was seated next to Peter Obi in court, remained silent about the situation.
Further pre-hearing proceedings in Peter Obi’s petition challenging the designation of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the President-elect by INEC have been postponed to Friday, May 19.
After hearing from the parties involved in the case, Justice Tsammani set the date.