Obi loses grip on LP as party files petitions against NLC, Ajaero

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  • LP petitions SGF, FG over invasion of secretariat
  • Seeks disciplinary action against Ajaero, other Labour leaders
  • Congress: Abure no longer party chair

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in last year’s general election, Mr. Peter Obi, may have lost his grip on the party after the LP leadership yesterday ignored his alleged mediation in the public spat between the party and its strongest ally in the run-up to the election, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The LP fired a petition against NLC and its President Joe Ajaero to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Labour and Employment Minister and  Registrar of the Trade Union “over the vandalisation of party offices and false claim of party ownership” by the congress.

The party called for disciplinary action against Ajaero and other leaders of the congress.

But congress in a swift response claimed Julius Abure has ceased to be the LP national chairman.

The Nation gathered in Abuja yesterday that Obi had met with representatives of both sides with a view to reconciling them but all that appeared to have hit the rocks yesterday when the LP leadership denounced Ajaero and other leaders of the NLC for the Wednesday picketing of the party’s offices across the country.

The NLC is laying claim to the ownership of the party and wants the national EXCO led by Julius Abure to resign the national convention of the party convened.

A source close to the gladiators said: “Peter Obi met with some leaders of the party and that of the NLC, and he is mediating to ensure that peace returns to the party.

“He also met with other stakeholders, not just the party leadership and NLC. It is not a media stuff that’s why you didn’t see it in the papers. It is an internal party matter.”

National Chairman of the LP, Julis Abure, and the National Secretary, Umar Ibrahim, accused Ajaero of overreaching himself by using workers’ funds to picket and sponsor insurrection in the Labour Party headquarters; an action they said amounts to abuse of office and should therefore be called to order and properly sanctioned.

“It has become unavoidably necessary,” according to them, to request government’s urgent intervention, as the NLC “has over the years engaged in a war of attrition with our party.

“It came to a head and unbearable when the NLC under the leadership of Comrade Joe Ajaero directed the picketing of our party’s National Headquarters and our chapter offices across the country. The unwarranted attack in our office resulted in the destruction of several properties.

“The NLC claims to be owners of the party and therefore wants to impose the leadership of the party, exert overwhelming control to achieve a political end. It must be pointed out that once a Political Party is registered by INEC, it becomes a body corporate with a perpetual succession and a common seal (see the letter of INEC to NLC dated 3rd September 2015) where INEC stated clearly that the NLC has no superior status.

“Section 77 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that a political party once registered has a life of its own and it is only regulated by its constitution. It is imperative to note that by the import of the above provisions, whosoever plays any role whatsoever in the registration of the party becomes immaterial. The party will thereafter be regulated by its constitution.

“It should be noted that Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) prohibits any association from contributing to the funds of any Political Party. It is a criminal offence under section 15 of the Trade Union Act to use Trade Unions Funds whether directly or indirectly to fund a Political Party.

“It is our argument that using workers’ funds to picket and sponsor insurrection in the Labour Party headquarters and its legitimate leadership is an abuse of office by the President of the NLC Comrade Joe Ajaero, and should therefore be called to order and properly sanctioned.

“Similarly, the NLC has no right to picket an organisation where there is no trade dispute. The Labour Party has no staff who are members of the NLC. The actions of the NLC is a clear violation of the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act, the Trade Union Act and other relevant laws.”

On the membership of the party, the petition notes that “It is of importance to further draw your attention to the fact that it is only members who are financially up to date with the party who have rights and obligations to in the party (See Article 9(3)(i) and (iii) of our constitution).

“NLC members are not card-carrying members of Labour Party. The Labour Party cannot be owned by any association. Membership of the Party is on individual basis. The Labour Party’s Constitution says the Party is open to all Nigerians who accept its ideology, programmes and the constitution, irrespective of their religion, ethnic, gender, social and economic status.

“However, the organs of the party as decided by the members assume leadership of the party. How this is achieved is well spelt out in the constitution.

“As lawful citizens, we didn’t want to confront them in an uncivilised manner in order to avoid breakdown of law and order. We had the option of also mobilising party faithful to confront them. Doing that at this point where the harsh economic climate is having its toll on the Nigerian people will result in anarchy.

“Hence, the urgent need to call the NLC and its leadership led by Comrade Joe Ajaero to order, educate them on the limit of their power, condemn their rascality, abuse of office and discipline them as appropriate.”

The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, in a separate statement yesterday in Abuja asked the Federal Government, being the Regulatory Agency for trade unions, to define the role of the NLC, “particularly on its false claim of being the owner of the Labour Party for which NLC has continually harassed and intimidated the leadership of the party by way of interfering in the party’s activities and attempting to impose leadership on it.”

On Wednesday, the LP national EXCO met in Asaba, the Delta State capital and ratified the programme for the party’s convention.

On the same day however, the NLC Political Commission led workers to the national secretariat of the party in Abuja to picket it.

The workers called for the postponement of the convention and the resignation of Abure.

They also called for the setting up of a caretaker transition committee to organise a constitutionally recognised convention.

Head of Information at the NLC, Benson Upah, in a brief chat with our reporter, said the convention planned by LP leadership “is off the table for now.”

“Whoever touches Abure with a long pole now is on his own. I assure you of this.”

The proposed convention has pitted the party against the NLC, the House of Representatives Caucus and some supporters of the party.

The caucus leader, Victor Ogene, asked the leadership of the party to put an end to the infighting that is threatening the party and engage in further consultation in the overall interest of the party.

The caucus had also said that many stakeholders, including the lawmakers, were not carried along in the processes leading to the choice of date and venue for the convention.

Abure no longer LP’s chairman – NLC Political Commission

The NLC Political Commission claimed last night that Abure was no longer LP National Chairman and dismissed as sarcastic and pathetic his allegation that NLC leaders stole staff salary during Wednesday’s picketing of the LP National Secretariat.

Secretary of the commission, Comrade Chris Uyot, accused Abure of mischief.

His words: “Following this week’s successful take-over of Labour Party Secretariats nationwide by the Nigeria Labour Congress who are the real owners of the party, Mr. Julius Abure’s silhouette continues to hide from the long arms of the law over various allegations and charges bordering on criminality.

‘It is unfortunate that instead of courageously coming out to the open to defend himself against several fingers pointing in his direction, Mr. Abure has adopted the cowardly posture of crouching in the undergrowth of shame, lies, treachery and infamy to lay fictitious claims against a dignified, focused and honourable institution like the Nigeria Labour Congress.

“First is to make the point clear that Mr. Julius Abure has since ceased from being the Chairman of the Labour Party. Second, his latest missive that the successful takeover of the Labour Party Secretariat by workers who are the party’s rightful owners resulted in the theft of staff salaries is sarcastic and pathetic. It is unfortunate that Mr Abure has surrendered himself to the laboratory of public opprobrium on how the mind of an incorrigible liar, visionless usurper, timid traitor, and serial scammer works.

“The reclaiming of Labour Party Secretariats across the country was witnessed by many policemen, officers from the State Security Service, and many journalists including television crews. The import of Mr. Abure’s fictitious claim is that the police, other security agents and tens of journalists who observed the peaceful visit by the Nigeria Labour Congress Political Commission were accessory to the crime of petty theft. We expect the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to add this outrageous defamation to the long list of crimes perpetrated by Mr. Abure.

“During the nationwide peaceful reclaim of Labour Party’s secretariats, not even one canister of tear gas was fired as the picketing was conducted in tandem with the NLC’s philosophy and disposition to peaceful protests.

“For Abure to concoct such daylight falsehood clearly proves to all Nigerians that he carries moral leprosy and must be avoided at all costs. The inconsistency in Abure’s account – from allegations of missing billions now to the theft of workers’ salaries and destruction of valuables – clearly confirms our earlier assessment of him as a drowning political wannabe.

“After being rejected by all stakeholders in the Labour Party, we urge Mr. Julius Abure to show his face in public. He should not hide underground and be vomiting gibberish. The few insignificant scoundrels still hanging on to Abure’s tattered pockets of ill-gotten coins, including irresponsible grandfathers who have committed class suicide and show no visible means of livelihood, and who now appear on television to lie on Labour Party ownership must remember that history’s judgment on traitors is very dire.

“As for Abure, his cup of moral rascality, administrative indiscretion and political incompetence overflows. The Nigeria Labour Congress intends to institute a private legal process against him for the defamation of the noble character of the Congress. He should also be ready to answer questions on why he kept staff salaries in the office a self-admission to financial impropriety, sleaze, and disdain for due process cum accountability.

“While the security agents intensify their nationwide manhunt for Mr. Julius Abure and his ‘food is ready’ partners in perfidy, the Nigeria Labour Congress Political Commission wishes to remind all Nigerian workers and people that our focus can never be a tiny chameleon who lives under the coarse cannon of common criminality and fodders of low level infamy.

“We are focused on fumigating and ridding the Labour Party of rodents whose only source of livelihood and survival is in picking on the mahogany of ideological and moral clarity that the Labour Party of Nigeria represents.

“Labour Party must be thoroughly cleansed and repositioned as the vehicle for the socio- economic emancipation of all Nigerian workers and people.”


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