The crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) has continued unabated as a new LP faction led by Olumide Adesoyin emerged in Lagos state.
The Adesoyin-led faction disowned Dayo Ekong-led executive committee (Exco), which led the party into the 2023 general elections in the state.
Speaking, Mr Adesoyin said that a court of competence had warned the general public to desist from dealing with Ekong-led faction anymore in the state.
Mr Adesoyin said the Ekong-led exco was no longer recognised by law, following the sack of the Julius Abure-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, which appointed Ekong-led excos into office.
“It is in the public knowledge that Abure was suspended by members of his ward in Edo State in April 2023, the reason Alhaji Bashiru Lamidi Apapa was called upon to take over the leadership, being the next in line, to rescue the party.
“It would be recalled quickly that the embattled Abure appealed his suspension at the Appeal Court but lost and the case is now listed in the Supreme Court awaiting proceedings and judgment,” he said.
Mr Adesoyin said that it was based on the court judgement that he and his team were given a letter by Mr Apapa in April to act and perform as the executive committee of the Labour Party in Lagos State for three months period.
He said that this was in consonance with the party’s constitution, noting that the three months period would expire by the end of July.
Mr Adesoyin said that the tenure of his own exco had since been renewed by the party’s national body.
He said that notwithstanding the party’s laid down rules and regulations, the Ekong-led exco had been “going about parading themselves as the state executives of the party in manners that is rather alien to our party’s constitution.”
He explained that the need to maintain Labour Party’s respectable name made his exco-led to approach an Ikeja High Court to put Ekong-led exco in check.
Mr Adesoyin urged members of the public to be wary of their dealings with the Abure-led body, saying that courts of competent jurisdiction in both Benin and Abuja had cautioned Nigerians against such.
“The court has warned that anyone still having any dealings with them does so at his or her own peril,” he added.
Mr Adesoyin also debunked claims in some quarters that Mr Apapa and his group were working for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), even as he insisted that there was no faction in Lagos LP.
According to him, his exco remained the authentic one that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will deal with.
Mr Adesoyin also assured that the LP would win the forthcoming House of Representatives bye-election in Surulere Federal Constituency I of the state.
In a swift reaction, Ekong-led State Working Committee described the group as impostors who interpret court orders to suit their selfish interests.
Mrs Ekong, in a statement, urged the general public to disregard Adesoyin’s claim, saying the party’s constitution did not recognise faction.
She urged Nigerians to know that there is no faction in the party, the Labour Party either at the national or state level.
Mrs Ekong said there was only one legally constitutional and recognised national chairman and secretary of the party in the persons of Julius Abure and Umar Farouk, respectively.
She noted that the constitution of the party did not know any position of “acting national chairman.
According to her, Mr Apapa is not the national chairman, neither are his cohorts, members of the national working committee of the Labour Party.
Mrs Ekong said: “For sake of clarity, Mr Apapa and his cohorts are suspended members of a national working committee of the party.
“They were suspended via a resolution made at the INEC meeting of the Party held at Asaba, Delta State on April 18, 2023.
“A certified true copy of the INEC report of the said meeting is available for anyone to inspect and verify.
“In view of the above, Mr Lamidi Apapa and his co-travellers do not have any power or locus to carry out any function as officers of a party both at national and state level.”
She said the order of Hon. Justice D.O. Osiager in suit No: FHC/L/CS/1277/2023 made on July 17 ordered the Apapa group to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed in the suit.
According to her, the implication of the order is that the Apapa group cannot do anything whatsoever in the capacity of the officers of the party until the matter is disposed of and the suit is adjourned to Oct. 9, 2023.