There was pandemonium on Wednesday when some state chairmen of the Labour Party (LP) chased the Lamidi Apapa-led faction of the National Working Committee (NWC) away from the national headquarters of the party in Abuja.
The leadership crisis rocking the LP took a turn for the worse last week when a faction stormed the party’s national secretariat located at Utako, to take control of the building citing a court order.
The group, made up of seven members of the NWC of the party, installed the National Vice-Chairman (South), Lamidi Bashir Apapa, as the acting chairman of the party, following the suspension of the embattled national chairman, Julius Abure.
They said they were acting on the judgement of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, which restrained Julius Abure from parading himself as the national chairman of the party.
Friday, 36 state chairmen of the party forced their way into the party’s headquarters, insisting that Abure remained the party’s leader.
But speaking to newsmen yesterday, in front of the office gate, chairman of LP in Kwara State and the chairman of all the state chairmen of the party, Chief Kehinde Rotimi, said himself and his colleagues had arrived for a meeting but were locked out of the party’s secretariat and that when the Apapa led faction arrived, they (the state chairmen) also refused to let them in, forcing everyone to remain outside.
“We have been here for quite some days now, for screening of some of our gubernatorial candidates for the forthcoming election in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo State.
“We were at the screening yesterday when we learnt that some people brought themselves to this office yesterday to do screening for candidates. When we heard that, we said that that is an aberration because they do not have the locus to do that.
“And I am a member of a screening committee where we screened so many candidates yesterday (Tuesday). So I do not know how they manipulated one or two candidates to come here yesterday and impersonated some of the candidates.
“So that’s why we came here. On getting to our secretariat, we wanted to hold a meeting and we discovered it was under lock and key. So we met some DSS men and some vigilantes groups, some thugs and miscreants and they said they asked them to lock the secretariat.
“In the course of discussing that, the legal committee led by Apapa came around and were trying to engage us, and their thugs were almost attacking us and we resisted every temptation to cause commotion and crisis because we know the case is in court, anything in court you don’t discuss it and we don’t want to commit contempt of court and that is why we now said okay, what do we do? Let’s stay here. So they could not enter, we too, could not enter,” Rotimi said.
Reacting to the incident, LP former Youth leader, Anslem Eragbe, who was suspended by the NWC said that they were merely acting in accordance with the party’s constitution, lamenting the bad treatment given to the interim national chairperson, Apapa by the state chairmen.