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Labour Party Crisis: Court lifts suspension order on Abure, other officers

May 19, 2023

Justice Hamza Muazu of a High Court in Abuja, on Friday, granted an order of stay of execution on the suspension of Julius Abure as the Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) and other officials of the party.
The others are the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu and National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara. The court had restrained all of them from parading themselves as LP national officials,

The plaintiffs in the case are Martins Esikpali John; Lucky Shaibu; Isah Zekeri; Omogbai Frank; Abokhaiu Aliu; Ayohkaire Lateef; John Elomah, and Ayobami Arabambi.

They had, in an ex-parte motion, marked M/7082/2023, sought the removal of Mr Abure and the three other national officers, but the judge granted an order of suspension

On Friday, the judge, after listening to arguments from the parties, granted the order for a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeal filed by the defendants.

Mr Muazu had on 5 April issued an interim injunction stopping Messrs Abure, Ibrahim, Ojukwu and Ms Opara from parading themselves as national officers of LP.

This was contained in an ex-parte motion, marked M/7082/2023, brought before the court by the eight plaintiffs.

At the sitting on Friday, the defendants told the court they had a notice of appeal pending at the Court of Appeal.

After much arguments from the parties, the judge granted an order for a stay on the suspension.

Following the 5 April ex-parte injunction, Alex Ejesieme, SAN, on 20 April, argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The senior advocate had submitted that the matter before the court bordered on the internal affairs of the Labour Party, adding that criminal allegations made by the plaintiffs in the case could not be ventilated in an origination summon.

He added that the eight plaintiffs that brought the case before the court were not members of the National Executive Council of the party and, as such, lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.

According to Mr Ejesieme, “Our contention is clear that those criminal allegations cannot be ventilated in an origination summon.

“The issue of locus standi is there. When you refer to LP’s constitution, the claimants are not members of NEC or the party. They have a duty to present their membership cards to the court, which they didn’t.”

While objecting to the preliminary objection raised by the counsel for Mr Abure, the counsel for the plaintiffs, George Ibrahim, urged the court to dismiss the same.

According to him, the first to fourth defendants had yet to obey the 5 April order of the court as they were still parading themselves as national officers of the LP.

With the court’s ruling on having jurisdiction to hear the case, its order of 5 April subsists.

The judge then adjourned until Friday to hear the substantive case.

Earlier, the plaintiffs had informed the court, through their counsel, Ogwu Onoja SAN, that Mr Abure and the three other national officials allegedly forged several documents of the FCT High Court, including receipts, seals and affidavits, to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last general election.

Mr Onoja argued that following their indictment by a police investigation, the four people will be arraigned in court, adding that warrants for their arrest had already been obtained.

(Premium Times)

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