The leadership crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) worsened yesterday as some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) led by the deputy national chairman (south), Mr Lamidi Apapa, took over the party’s secretariat.
This came a day after a court order restrained Julius Abure from parading himself as the national chairman of the party and three others as national officers.
However, in another order, Justice Emmanuel Ahamioje of Edo State High Court, in Benin City, on Wednesday restrained the Labour Party from executing the purported suspension of Abure, until the determination of a motion on notice before it.
Speaking at an emergency meeting convened by a faction of the NWC yesterday, Apapa announced that he is now the acting national chairman of the party while Saleh Lawan is the acting national secretary.
The meeting also reinstated the executive council members from Ogun, Rivers and Gombe states earlier sacked by the Abure-led faction.
During the meeting, Apapa also reversed the suspension of Eragbe Anslem as the National Youth Leader and Yomi Arabambi as the National Publicity Secretary.
Meanwhile, the embattled Abure, in a statement yesterday, alleged that thugs and policemen broke into the party’s national headquarters and chased workers away.
He alleged that the invaders were working for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The invaders, who were armed, reportedly pulled down the fences, burglaries, doors and window to have access to our secretariat and in the process sacked workers and party members who were at the secretariat.
“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.
“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.
“A court of competent jurisdiction only yesterday ordered that I, Julius Abure remains the National Chairman, and should not be restrained from performing my duties. It, therefore, baffles me why the Nigerian Police should allow itself to be used to perpetrate illegalities,” Abure said.
However, when Daily Trust visited the national secretariat of the party, no fences, burglaries, doors, window or other properties were destroyed, apart from two locks of two offices, forcefully removed by the faction to gain entrance.
A combined detachment of Police and DSS were seen at the entrance of the party as at the time of filling this report last night.
By Abbas Jimoh (Abuja) & Usman A. Bello (Benin)