The leadership crisis rocking Labour Party (LP) took a new twist weekend as an erstwhile claimant to the National Chairmanship of the Party, Callistus Okafor, returned to the Supreme Court with a request to declare him the authentic leader of the Party.
Okafor, who was former Deputy Chairman of the Party prior to Peter Obi joining it, is asking the Supreme Court to declare him as the authentic Chairman because he was duly appointed to lead after the demise of their national Chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, Okafor said he duly assumed the office of National Chairman following Abdulsalam’s death on December 29, 2020, as prescribed by the party constitution.
Symfoninews recalls that Okafor had raised objections to Obi’s romance with the Julius Abure faction of the Party, arguing that he remains the legally recognised Chairman of Labour Party.
However, it was unclear what transpired between him and Obi leading to his silence and allowing Abure lead the Party for Obi’s failed presidential run.
However, while addressing journalists, Okafor urged the apex court to declare his ouster as the acting National Chairman following the death of the substantive Chairman, Abdulsalami, as illegal.
He said his ouster was illegal because there is a subsisting consent judgment that recognised his emergence as Chairman.
He also wants the Supreme Court to declare all actions so far taken by Julius Abure as illegal, null and void.
Okafor told journalists, “I am the only acting National Chairman of the Labour Party. Every other person parading himself as such is fake. Lamidi Apapa and Abure are both fake.
“Apapa, for instance, cannot emerge in illegality. His emergence would have been better if there had been no consent judgment.
“So far, there is a consent judgment; Julius Abure is an illegal Labour Party Chairman.
“The only leader, the Labour Party, has at the moment is Callistus Okafor, the acting National Chairman that the Constitution of the Labour Party recognises.
“Let everybody know that I have approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Thursday, May 18 and prayed the apex court to declare Abure’s LP chairmanship claims illegal.
“I have drawn the attention of the Court to the fact that the acting secretary of the LP, based on the Party’s Constitution, cannot emerge as the Chairman.
“I have also asked the Supreme Court to declare null and void and of no effect whatever Abure has done in his so-called capacity as the Chairman of the LP.
Okafor had approached the Supreme Court in 2022 to challenge the Appeal Court’s validation of his ouster as the acting National Chairman of the Labour Party, citing abuse of process.
He returned to the Supreme Court on Thursday to amend his prayers before the apex court.
Details of the amended suit sighted by our correspondent read, SC./CV/1379/2022,
APPEAL NO.CA/ABJ/CV/702/2022 and
SUIT NO FHC/AB3/CS/1636
The respondents are Comrade Salisu. Mohammed, Julius Abure, Umar Farouk, and Akingbade Samuel Oyelakin.
Okafor wants the Supreme Court to stop them from wrongfully and unlawfully parading themselves as members of the National Working Committee of the Labour Party.
Other respondents are the Independent National Electoral Commission, Lawson Osagie, Isa Aremu, Baba Aye, Ikpe Etokudo, Sylvester Ejiofor, Luy Offiong, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), and Hajiya Salamatu Aliyu.
Okafor is seeking an order of the Supreme Court allowing this appeal and set aside in its entirety the Judgment of the lower Court delivered on the 22 “4 day of July 2022.
He is also seeking “An order invoking its powers and exercising jurisdiction pursuant to section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, to hear and determine the Appeltant’s Originating Summons, dated the 22” day of December 2021 and filed on the 23% day of December 2021, on its merit.
“A declaration of the Court, that pursuant to Article 14, Paragraph 2(a&b) of the Constitution of Labour Party, that the Appellant, herein, Chief Callistus Okafor, as the Deputy National Chairman of Labour Party, assumed the position of the acting National Chairman of the Labour
Party, upon the demise of the previous occupant of that position in the person of A.Abdulsalami.
“A declaration that the 2nd Respondent, Barr Julius Abure, pursuant to Article 14, paragraph 2(a&b) of the Constitution of Labour Party, as the Acting National Secretary of Labour Party, cannot legally or validly assume office, under any circumstance whatsoever, as the acting National Charman of Labour Party, upon the demise of the previous occupant.
“An order of the Court restraining the 2nd Respondent, Barr Julius Abure, or any other person whomsoever, from acting, or assuming office, and or from continuing to act as the National Chairman of the Labour Party, besides the Appellant herein, Chief Callistus Okafor.
“A declaration that all the National Conventions, all Special Conventions, and all the Primary elections, conducted by Labour Party, under or by Barr Julius Abure, for the 2023 general elections, either as the acting National Secretary of Labour Party or as the acting Natrona! Chairman of Labour or under any other capacity, are illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null void and of no effect whatsoever.
“An order of the Court, invalidating, nullifying and setting aside in its entirety, all National Conventions, all special conventions, and all the Primaries, conducted by Labour Party, for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, under or by Barr Julius Abure, either as the acting National Secretary of Labour Party or as the acting National Chairman of Labour or under any other capacity whatsoever.
“An order Court directing and mandating the Independent National Electoral Commission, to henceforth accept and recognise Chief Callistus Okafor as the National Chairman of the Labour Party, among others.