Labor crisis deepens as court approves faction leader’s new suit

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* Judge orders substituted serve

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that the Labor Party (LP) and some of its officials be served with a new legal action over its leadership crisis by substitute means.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, issued the order on Monday after hearing an ex parte application filed by a former national vice-president of the party, Calistus Okafor.
In the court order seen by THISDAY on Wednesday, the judge ordered that the defendants be served by the pasting of court documents filed by the plaintiff at the LP secretariat in Abuja within seven days.
Okafor, a party faction leader, challenges the legality of the leadership of Akingbade Oyelakin in his complaint, which he says “represents people wrongfully and illegally presenting themselves as members of the National Works Committee (NWC) of the Party. Labour“.
He also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a co-defendant.
Others sued by Okafor include Julius Abure and Umar Farouq, who became the party’s national president and secretary respectively, at a meeting of the party’s national executive committee held in Benin, in the state of Edo, in March 2021.
The other defendants prosecuted by the defendants are members of the committee set up by the Naigeria Labor Congress (NLC) to take over the affairs of the party.
The committee members are Salisu Mohammed, Lawson Osagie, Isa Aremu, Baba Aye, Ikpe Ektokudo, Sylvester Ejiofor and Lucy Offiong. A certain Salamatu Aliyu and the NLC are being sued with them.
The court, in its order issued on Monday, ordered “substituted service of the originating summons, interlocutory injunction and all other processes in this lawsuit on the 1st through 3rd, 6th through 12th and 14th defendants in sticking the said processes to their political party office, which is the office of the 5th Respondent, located at No. 2, Oke Agbe Street, Off Ladoke Akintoal Boulevard, Garki 11, Abuja”.
The first to third defendants are Abure, Farouq and Oyelakin. The sixth to 12th defendants are the NLC committee members and the 14th defendant is Aliyu.
The court ordered that service be effected “within seven days of such order”.
The judge then adjourned the case until June 30 “for further mention”.
THISDAY had reported how Okafor had threatened to file a lawsuit and how the legal action could threaten the presidential ambitions of former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi who quit the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on last week and announced that he was ready to pursue his presidential aspiration. in the LP faction led by Abure.
However, Okafor told THISDAY that Obi decided to move to the LP without proper information that the leadership of the party had been in dispute since 2018.
Okafor asserted that he remained the party’s genuine national president.
He explained that he got the job by virtue of his position as national vice-president of the party when the late national president, Abdulsalam, was in office, adding that Abure, who currently leads a faction of the party, was national secretary. acting when Abdulsalam passed away in 2020.
Okafor further claimed that Abure announced himself as national president without resorting to the provisions of the party constitution, after Abdulsalam passed away. He said the LP’s constitution stipulated that the national vice president should act and/or replace the president in the event of death or resignation.
Okafor said, “Abure’s decision to make himself president, with the active collaboration of some members, has in fact led to the current leadership crisis within the LP.
“I, Calistus Okafor, have approached the court for an order to force Abure out and the case is ongoing.
“The case will be raised tomorrow (today) in the Federal High Court. There is no way to allow an Acting National Secretary to forcefully take control of the party and replace the late National President against the provisions of the party constitution.
“The NLC and the TUC actually registered the Labor Party in 2006, but they weren’t the ones running it.
“Peter Obi, at the moment, has been tricked and he’s sitting on a barrel of gunpowder and that’s a shame. He went to see wolves in sheep’s clothing thinking he was talking to the right people. Staying in the PDP would have been better for him.
“The LP has not held a convention since 2014, after the last one in Akure, the capital of Ondo State.”

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