Count us out of your travails, APC tackles LP chair

Soyinka vs LP
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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has distanced itself from the travails and the leadership crisis rocking the opposition Labour Party (LP).

APC National Publicity Secretary (NPS), Barrister Felix Morka in a statement in Abuja on Saturday advised suspended LP National Chairman, Julius Abure to swim in the party’s mess and leave the party out of its self-inflicted problem.

The LP Chairman on Thursday accused the ruling party of colluding with the Police and other security agencies to invade and seize the national secretariat of the opposition party.

APC reacts

But in the statement by the APC spokesman, the ruling party pitched its tent far away from the leadership crisis rocking the opposition party.

Morka noted in his statement: “With legs deep in quicksand, the embattled National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, clawing desperately in search of firmer ground, baselessly blames the All Progressives Congress (APC) for his sinking and dysfunctional party. In his irrational outburst, Abure accused the APC of colluding with police and other security agencies to invade and seize LP’s national secretariat and staging a crisis in that party.

“Total vindication of APC of any involvement in LP’s imbroglio was swiftly and categorically delivered by Mr Abure’s successor and Acting National Chairman of LP, Lamidi Apapa, who exonerated our great party of any interference in the party’s raging internal crisis.

“He (Apapa) clarified that the reported situation at the LP headquarters was a result of a legal process arising from the orders of a Federal Capital Territory High Court that barred Abure and other national officers of the party from parading themselves as such.

“The LP’s morbid obsession with APC is unfathomable and infantile, blaming APC for all its internal woes. Mr Abure’s bogus claim follows Mr Peter Obi’s unsubstantiated and vexatious claim that he was being hounded into exile by our party.”

Exonerating APC of any complicity in the crisis, Morka advised Abure to squarely attend to all the allegations of criminal conduct against him and leave the APC out of his travails.

“To be clear, APC is not responsible for Mr Abure’s travails. He will do well to focus his thin attention and energy on dealing with the many allegations of the criminal conduct of forgery and financial impropriety levelled against him by his party.

“While the LP continues to grapple with its myriad of woes and crying wolf where none exists, the APC will stay focused and committed to forming a new government to be led by the visionary President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as he drives the Renewed Hope agenda, and consolidate on the many gains of the out-going President Buhari-administration.”

‘Both LP chairmen illegal’

There was a new twist to the crisis rocking the LP at the weekend as a former Deputy National Chairman of the party (South) Callistus Okafor, declared that both the suspended national chairman, Julius Abure and the acting national chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa are illegal occupants of the seat.

In a chat with newsmen in Abuja, Okafor said he remained the authentic national chairman of the party.

He said he is rightly so by the virtue of his position as Deputy National Chairman of the party when the late national chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam was in office.

He claimed that Abure was Acting National Secretary, when Abdulsalam, died in 2020 and that he, Abure, announced himself as the National Chairman of the party without recourse to the provisions of the party’s constitution, after Abdulsalam’s demise.

His words: “Both Abure and Apapa are all illegal occupants of the seat. Abure as acting national secretary can never be a national chairman of the party unless there is a dissolution and a new convention takes place.

“Apapa that took over can also not preside over any meeting because he is illegal.”

He went on to express concerns about the recent developments within the party and the potential impact it could have on the upcoming legal battle to challenge the results of the 2023 presidential election.

He blamed the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi for allowing the crisis in the party to fester for long.

Okafor warned that the crisis could undermine the credibility of the party, which could ultimately harm Obi’s legal case.

He, therefore, urged the former Anambra governor to take swift action to resolve the crisis and prevent it from escalating any further.

Okafor stated: “Peter did not handle my case very well. He was busy doing his campaigns and maybe delegated incompetent hands to go and sort out the problem. The people he delegated did not do that job very well

“Anytime there is trouble, only roundtable will solve it, and such discussions must not come with threats.

“So, it is disheartening that this kind of thing (leadership crisis) will be happening in the Labour Party that has not seen the kind of light it is seeing today before.

“What is happening now occurred because Obi, as a leader, delegated incompetent people to go and sort out this problem. Instead of sorting out the problem, they were busy threatening and boasting of what they can do. Today, the party is paying dearly for it.

“Instead of Peter Obi to concentrate on his case at the tribunal, they want him to come down and start dealing with the Abure issue? No.

“Nevertheless, the Abure issue, if care is not taken, will affect him (Obi) too badly, because Abure is not the party’s national chairman. The constitution of the party made it clear that the acting national secretary cannot become the Chairman in the absence of the Chairman.”

Highlighting the importance of unity in the party, Okafor beseeched members to put aside their differences and work towards a common goal.

“Nigerians, all Labour Party members, all Obidients should maintain peace. Nobody should take laws into his hands.

“We have the courts. I have been patiently waiting for Court judgement (over the crisis in LP) because it is the hope of the common man. Peace is what we must maintain,” Okafor stressed.

Datti won’t debate Soyinka

Meanwhile, the media campaign organisation of the LP has said the Vice Presidential candidate of the party, Datti Baba-Ahmed will not accept the challenge of Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka for an open debate.

Head, Obi Datti Media Office, Diran Onifade, said this in a statement on Saturday following the challenge for a debate on Channels Television by Soyinka.

The Nobel laureate had taken exception to some comments made by Baba-Ahmed when he featured on the television station.

In a separate interview, Soyinka had condemned those comments with his (Soyinka’s) response drawing scurrilous criticism from supporters of the Labour Party.

The statement reads: “Like many Nigerians, we are bewildered by the late hour intervention of our respected Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka in issues around the flawed 2023 elections. Where was he all this while?

“One of those who should ordinarily and rightfully be honoured as the conscience of the nation, Prof. Soyinka is now criminalising dissent and in fact weighing in on the side of fraud and injustice!

“We state, therefore, that the vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed cannot take up Prof. Soyinka’s offer of a public debate, not out of cowardice, but for cultural and political reasons.

“Culturally it’s just not decent, their age and accomplishment gaps taken into account, for Datti to sit opposite the 88 year-old global icon and point out his folly to his face, even if the old man called for it. And politically there is no basis for such a challenge in that Prof. is not on any of the opposite ballots.

“If however he can use his influence to drag his preferred candidates, who resisted debates throughout the campaign, to the studio this second, Datti says he is more than willing to take them on.”

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