The National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and trustee member of the Labour Party (LP), Joe Ajaero, has declared that Julius Abure remains the recognised National Chairman of the party.
Naija News recalls that a High Court in Benin had restrained anybody from removing the embattled party chairman, while another court of cognate jurisdiction, an FCT High Court, granted an interim order, restraining Abure from parading himself as the party chairman.
Speaking to Vanguard on Sunday, Ajaero hinted that the NLC would seek an interpretation of the two court orders over the position of the national chairman of the Labour Party.
The NLC President said that the ruling given by the FCT High Court was an interim order that could be vacated at any time, adding that going by order of Benin High Court, Abure remains the chairman.
He stated that it was a belief in many quarters that the Acting National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, was sponsored to scuttle the court matter at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Ajaero said, “Assuming the court has removed the substantive chairman, there will be a notice of meeting, and we will get the court ruling or the order which will enable us to know whether it is an emergency situation to call for a meeting and the circular will go out for meeting.
“And then, in the meeting, we may decide to replace him, but an interim order does not mean that a chairman has been removed permanently. And if there was an interim order and before 24 hours somebody announced himself as the new leader, the person knows about that interim order.
“We don’t run our organization that way, so the person is not from our fold and can’t parade himself anywhere and does not represent us. If there is the need for us to remove our chairman, under administrative rule, we decide who should be our chairman without prejudice to the position of court or trying him on any offence. Even if he is removed permanently, we sit down and decide who takes over.
“Somebody can’t tell me he is the (acting) chairman of labour party. It is insulting. So we have to say you are our chairman and not for you to announce yourself. So it is absurd, and the people doing that should be properly examined.”
The NLC President further said, “Even if the executive of the party is to be dissolved, it is those of us who are trustees of the party that will be the last people to be held responsible, and that is why I told you that I have the certificate.
“The Labour Party is not like other political parties, it is formed by the labour movement but open to other Nigerians to join, and that is what is happening. So people can’t come from anywhere and announce themselves as our leader. We choose our leader.”
He said the NLC recognises Abure as the Labour Party as authentic chairman, adding that the two court orders need interpretation.
Ajaero said: “The one from Benin is an order that says nobody should remove him. The other one from the FCT says he has been removed, sorry it is an interim order on him until the substantive matter comes up before the court. So it is an interim arrangement.
“So, if you look at these two, we can only ask for further interpretation on the implications of these two rulings to enable us take further decision whether we want any of the deputies or whatever to cover duties not to take over from him within this period of interim order.
“But as far as there are two orders, it’s like saying the status quo is still remaining. He is still there until there is an interpretation of that matter. If we don’t seek this further interpretation and somebody pronounces himself as a new leader, the person should be arrested and be prosecuted. After all, this is when we will know whether the person is a member of the party or not.”
The NLC President said the same court would give the Union further explanation on their pronouncement, adding that the NLC will find out whether the FCT High Court will have the capacity to set aside the pronouncement of the Benin High Court.
“If you take the position of Benin High Court, Abure is still there; if you take the other one, Abure is restrained from performing his functions until the court meets. Whichever way, even if he is restrained from performing his functions, it doesn’t mean he has been removed as chairman of the party,” he added.