The leadership crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) deepened on Tuesday as it suspended a factional leader, Lamidi Apapa, its National Deputy Chairman (South) and some other officials.
The party also appointed acting executive members according to a statement signed by Ladi Iliya, national deputy chairperson and Kenedy Ahanotu, deputy national secretary.
They stated that the decision was taken at a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party held in Asaba and attended by members of the National Working Committee.
Also in attendance at the Asaba meeting were state chairpersons and secretaries of the party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
The Asaba meeting was also attended by the party’s National Assembly members-elect, officials of INEC, those of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the statement read.
It added that the NEC reaffirmed and upheld the decision of the Akure convention which expelled its former publicity secretary, Arabambi Abayomi.
“NEC considered the disciplinary committee’s report which recommended the suspension of the former Youth Leader, Mr Anslem Eragbe and recommended him for expulsion at the next national convention.
“Pending the next convention, NEC suspends Eragbe indefinitely.
“NEC also suspended the following National Working Committee (NWC) members: Lamidi Apapa, Alhaji Salem Lawal, Favour Reuben, Gbenga Daramola, Samuel Akingbade and Mohammed Akali,’’ the statement also read.
It added that the NEC constituted a disciplinary committee comprising the National Youth Leader, Kennedy Ahanotu; Acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, and Acting National Legal Adviser, Edun Kehinde, as members.
It listed other members as the Acting Deputy National Secretary, Rotimi Kehinde and the National Vice Chairman South-South, Anthony Ezeagwu.
The NEC also critically evaluated the 2023 general elections and noted INEC’s failure to transmit election results in real-time from polling units, which it said gave room for massive manipulation of results.
The statement condemned electoral violence and the use of security agencies to intimidate voters and perpetrate other crimes in parts of the country.
“NEC noted the resilience, and doggedness of our presidential candidate and its resolve to legitimately reclaim its mandate in court.
“NEC accordingly calls on the judiciary to do the right thing irrespective of whose ox is gored,’’ the statement also read.
It stressed its implicit confidence in Julius Abure-led National Working Committee (NWC).
The Labour Party is now Nigeria’s third-largest party. Its presidential candidate, Mr Obi, came third in the presidential election while it also won the third-highest number of seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.