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LP crisis: Peter Obi, Obidients dump Abure, as search for new chairman begins

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The crisis rocking the Labour Party, LP, took a dangerous dimension last week, with members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, picketing the party’s national secretariat and some of its state offices.

There are also indications that the presidential candidate of the party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi and his supporters known as Obidients have abandoned the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure to his fate.

This is not unconnected to the internal crisis that has been rocking the party structure since the 2023 general elections was concluded.

After a series of legal battles with the factional chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa, Abure has been in the news over alleged financial impropriety and other disturbing issues.

Abure’s unending alleged financial scandals

DAILY POST recalls that Peter Obi in February 2024, called for a thorough and forensic investigation into an embezzlement allegation levelled against the party’s chairman, Abure.

The call by the former Anambra Governor was in response to allegations earlier made by Oluchi Oparah, the national treasurer of the party, accusing Abure of allegedly misappropriating N3.5 billion.

Oparah also alleged that the Abure-led National Working Committee, NWC, was working hand-in-hand with the Edo State Government and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the September 2024 governorship polls.

Similarly, in a letter signed by Comrades TItus Amba and Chris Uyot, the chairman and the secretary of NLC Political Commission, the party expressed concerns over recurrent scandals and pending cases of fraud.

Labour Party administration under Abure

Abure was recently accused by some stakeholders of the party, including the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, of running the LP as a “sole administrator.”

DAILY POST recalls that the Deputy President of the NLC Political Commission, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, who spoke when the workers occupied the Labour Party headquarters in Abuja recently, said the decision to picket the party’s headquarters was taken to express workers’ grievances against Abure’s style of leadership.

He said, ”Now, it is in the hands of this usurper, he is looking for N30 million, N40 million, and so on to buy forms, excluding the people who founded the party. Enough is enough, Abure must go,” said the acting General Secretary of NLC, Comrade Bello Ismail on the cost of governorship interest and nomination forms.

Similarly, in a letter issued by Comrades TItus Amba and Chris Uyot, the chairman and secretary of NLC Political Commission, respectively, the union also knocked Abure for not being committed to the ideology of the Labour Party.

Controversial national convention

The embattled LP Chairman was in the news recently again over his alleged plan to hold National Convention without due processes.

DAILY POST reports that the Abure-led National Working Committee, NWC, was accused of planning to hold the national convention of the party in Umuahia, Abia State capital on March 27.

The planned convention was captured in a notice issued to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on March 13.

The move was, however, rejected by critical stakeholders, such as the House of Reps Caucus and the NLC, leading to the recent picketing of the party’s secretariat last week.

Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress Political Commission – the political wing of the NLC, had in an open letter dated March 15, condemned the planned convention.

While demanding for the immediate resignation of Abure, the commission described the plan as illegal, noting that it would not allow any form of illegality in the affairs of the party to stand.

A source who spoke to DAILY POST on Saturday on condition of anonymity, alleged that Abure’s intention was to impose leadership on the party.

He said major stakeholders in that party were against the March convention, stressing that the party needs more time to select its leaders.

“Everybody in the party including our leader, Peter Obi is tired of Abure’s leadership. If we are not in court today, we will be in the news for one allegation or the other.

“The time we need to use to prepare for elections like the ones coming up in Edo and Ondo is used in settling disputes.

“Abure knows that everyone wants him out and the next thing he wants to do to remain relevant in the party is to impose a chairman on the party.

“How can you be talking about conventions and stakeholders of the same party are not even aware? The Labour Party is not Abure’s personal company”, he said.

Search for new chairman begins

DAILY POST gathered on Saturday that a former Deputy National Campaign Manager to Peter Obi/Dati Presidential Campaign, Comrade Isaac Balami from the Northern region may take over from Abure.

An insider told DAILY POST that some party leaderships and chieftains have had a meeting and suggested Balami as the next National Chairman of the party.

When contacted, Balami told our correspondent on the phone that he was “under pressure to run for the chairmanship of the party”, but that there are issues on ground still stopping his declaration.

According to him, he doesn’t even know whether the convention will be held as scheduled as “there are forces fighting against the unity and progress of the party”.

“But then, I can’t refuse or turn down a request coming directly from the youth constituency of the party.

“You know they were instrumental to the change in the political narrative and advancement of the Labour Party in the last election, so we can’t joke with their position.

“I truly appreciate their commitment to the success of our party and I won’t take their call for granted.

”In a couple of hours, we shall make our final decision on this matter.”

DAILY POST reports that the former All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain had prior to the 2023 general elections, dumped his party for the LP, saying he believed in the ideology of the party and its candidate, Mr Peter Obi.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the convention, Dr Yunusa Salisu Tanko, Chief Spokesperson for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 election, told DAILY POST on Saturday that Abure failed to carry the stakeholders of the party along in the planned convention.

He said, “all we want is for us to build a political party we all will be proud of. A part that will represent the interest of everybody.

“We have all that it takes to build the structure of the party. That is the best thing that can happen to us as a party.

“We don’t want a closed convention like the Chairman is trying to have. Because it is likely going to be a closed convention instead of an open convention and that is not good for us.

“Many people did not even know that there was going to be a convention. I was not aware of the convention too. I saw it in the newspaper just like any other person.

“This is what NLC is also saying. Nobody is against any particular person but for us to have a convention that all of us will be proud of. Peter Obi has also said that the convention should be open for everybody.”

Asked to clarify the viral report purporting Peter Obi’s decision to dump the Labour Party ahead of the 2027 presidential elections, Tanko simply said, “It is not true. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like that”.

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