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‘You don’t have the legal standing to screen candidates’ – State Chairmen tells Apapa

Labour Party state Chairmen have cautioned the Lamidi Apapa-led group not to screen candidates for the off-circle election because they remain suspended officials.

Mr Kehinde Rotimi, the Kwara chairman of LP, made the call while addressing newsmen in Abuja.

The Apapa-led group began the screening of governorship candidates on Tuesday 11th April with just four candidates in attendance out of the 24 expected candidates from Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States.

Rotimi, who is also the chairman of Forum of States LP chairmen, said that screening was currently ongoing for the off-circle governorship elections for Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo.

He said: “We were at the screening yesterday when we learned that some people constituted themselves in the party’s Secretariat to screen some candidates for the elections.

“When we heard that, we said that was an aberration because they don’t have the legal standing to do that.

“We have our own screening committee. The committee has screened many candidates.

“We came here today to meet at our secretariat but we discovered that it was under lock and key.”

Rotimi said that the chairmen resisted the temptation to cause commotion to avoid contempt of court since the matter was now a legal issue.

“If someone goes to court to accuse someone of an offence or crime, the person must be heard according to the provisions of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“In this case, you accused four principal officers of the party of a very serious offence but they have not been heard by the court the next thing we are hearing is they should stop parading themselves as officers of LP.

“We are part of the chairmen council, which is a very integral part of NEC and have the final authority to rectify any decision taken by the party.”

Rotimi said that the NEC had not met to decide if Apapa and other suspended members would be called back from suspension but they were already parading themselves as officers.

Also speaking, Mr Ogboloi Kelly, Edo LP chairman said that the National Working Committee (NWC) was an integral part of the NEC so it was illegal for a small fraction to break into the party’s office and install themselves as leaders.

Kelly said that it was an illegitimate act and therefore it would not be condoned.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was pandemonium at the party’s headquarters.

The Apapa’s group, made up of seven members of the NWC of the Party, installed the National Vice-Chairman (South), Lamidi Apapa, as the acting chairman of the party to replace Julius Abure.

They said they were acting on the judgment of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court which restrained Abure from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.

However, the 36 state chairmen of the party forced their way into the party’s headquarters, insisting that Abure remained the party’s leader.

Mr Anslem Eragbe, a former Youth Leader of the party who was suspended by the NWC, while reacting to the incident, said that the Apapa group was acting on the court judgment delivered.

“They were merely acting in accordance with the party’s constitution. We are worried over the bad treatment meted on Apapa,” he said.


Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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