The legal team of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has dismissed the 48 hours updates directive by a faction of the party over the petitions before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal over the February 25, election.
The self-acclaimed factional leader of the LP, Lamidi Apapa, had following the ruling of an FCT court sustaining its earlier suspension of Julius Abure as the national chairman of the party, declared that the ruling confirmed him as the authentic national chairman.
Apapa declared: “I want to invite all the lawyers that are in charge, representing the Labour Party at the election tribunal, to give me updates in the next 48 hours because I am the one in charge and the one in the driver’s seat.”
But the lead counsel to Obi and the LP, Levi Uzoukwu (SAN), on Sunday, said the legal team had no business with Apapa
Uzoukwu said, “He never briefed us; we are not answerable to him and we will never be answerable to him.”
Although LP’s lawyers had on that Friday indicated an intention to challenge the ruling on its objection at the Court of Appeal, Apapa, however, told newsmen that he was going ahead to take control of the party based on the order.
But the Chairman of the party, Abure, dismissed the comments made by Apapa as merely seeking to take over the party through the backdoor “to satisfy their paymasters” and disrupt the ongoing presidential petition at the tribunal.
Justice Hamza Muazu in a ruling on Friday held that the court had the jurisdiction to hear the LP’s matter and make the order restraining Abure and three others from parading themselves as national officers.
Justice Muazu held that the court would not stand by and allow a wrong in a political party.
Abure; the National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim; the National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara; and the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu; who were suspended on April 5, had filed a motion challenging the court’s power to hear the matter.
Arguing the motion, counsel to Abure and the three other national officers, Ben Nwosu Esq, said the matter was an internal affair of the LP, which the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain.
The original suit was brought by Martins Esikpali John O.; Lucky Shaibu; Isah Zekeri; Omogbai Frank; Abokhalu Aliu; Ayohkaire Lateef; Job Elomah and Dr Abayomi Arabambi through their lawyer, James Onoja (SAN).
They also averred that the party chairman was suspended by the ward executives of the LP in Ward 03, Arue, Esan in North East LGA of Edo State via a resolution on March 31, 2023.
The court fixed May 19, for the hearing of the matter