LP Crisis; Peter Obi and Obidients Withdraw Support From Abure, Quest for New Chairman Begins


The Labour Party (LP), faced a heightened crisis last week as members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, staged protest at the party’s national secretariat and various state offices. Additionally, it appears that Peter Obi, the party’s presidential candidates in the 2023 election, along with his supporters known as ‘Obidients’, have distanced themselves from the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, amidst ongoing internal strife following the conclusion of the 2023 general elections. Following a string of legal disputes with the factional party chairman, Lamidi Apapa, Abure has been making headlines due to allegations of financial misconduct and other concerning matters.

In February 2024, Peter Obi urged for a comprehensive and meticulous investigation into embezzlement accusations against the party’s chairman, Abure. Obi’s call forwarded allegations by Oluchi Oparah, the party’s national treasurer, who claimed that Abure had misappropriated N3.5 billion. Oparah further asserted that the Abure-led National Working Committee, NWC, collaborated with the Edo State Government and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. in preparation for the September 2024 gubernatorial elections. Additionally, a letter signed by Comrade Titus Amba and Chris Uyot, the chairman and secretary of the NLC Political Commission, expressed concerns about recurring scandals and pending fraud cases within the party.

Abure has recently faced accusations from various party stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), of operating the LP as a “sole administrator.” Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku, Deputy President of the NLC Political Commission, voiced these concerns during a recent occupation of the Labour Party headquarters in Abuja by workers. Ndubuaku stated that the decision to picket the headquarters aimed to address workers’ grievances regarding Abure’s leadership style. He emphasized, “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,’ as echoed by the acting General Secretary of NLC, Comrade Bele Ismail, regarding the cost of gubernatorial interest and nomination forms. Furthermore, a letter from Comrades Titus Amba and Chris Uyot,chairmand and secretary of the NLC Political Commission respectively, criticized Abure for lacking commitment to the Labour Party’s ideology.

The beleaguered LP Chairman made headline once again due to allegations of planning a National Convention without following proper procedures. Reports indicated the the Abure-led National Working Committee (NWC) was accused of intending to convene the party’s national convention in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, on March 27. The planned convention was officially notified to the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 13. However, this move faced opposition from key stakeholders, including the House of Representatives Caucus and the NLC, leading to the recent occupation of the party’s secretariat. The Nigeria Labour Congress Political Commission, representing the NLC’s political interest, condemned the planned convention in an open letter dated March 15, demanding Abure’s immediate resignation and denouncing the illegality of the plan. According to an anonymous source on Saturday, Abure’s alleged intention was to impose leadership on the party, despite significant opposition from major stakeholders who believed the party required more time to select its leaders.

“Everybody in the party including our leader, Peter Obi is tire of Abure’s leadership. If we are not in court today, we will be in 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.

On Saturday, it was reported that Comrade Isaac Balami, a former Deputy National Campaign Manager for the Peter/Datti Presidential Campaign from the Northern region, is being considered as a potential successor to Abure. An insider revealed that during a meeting, party leaders and chieftains suggested Balami as the next National Chairman. When reached for comment, Balami acknowledged that he is facing pressure to run for the party’s chairmanship but stated that certain unresolved issues are preventing him from making a formal declaration. He expressed uncertainty about the scheduled convention, citing internal division hindering the party’s unity and progress.

“But then, i cant 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.”

Before the 2023 general elections, a former chieftain of the All Progressive Congress reportedly switched allegiance to the Labour Party, citing his belief in the party’s ideology and its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi. Addressing the convention controversy, Dr. Yunusa Salisu Tanko, Chief Spokesperson for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 election, stated on Saturday that Abure neglected to involve the party’s stakeholders in the convention planning process.

He said;

“All we want is for us to build a political party we all will be proud of. A part thatwill represent the interest of everybody. We have all that it takes top 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 convention should be open for everybody.”

When questioned about the viral report suggesting Peter Obi’s intention to leave the Labour Party before 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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