Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has petitioned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over perceived disobedience of court order and breach of the Labour Party, LP Constitution

In a petition by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, Congress accused a staff of INEC simply identified as Kingsley of conniving with certain individuals to not only subvert the constitution of LP, but also a valid court order. The petition alleged that a purported meeting of the National Executive Council, NEC, of the LP was held on March 29, 2021, in Benin at which Messrs  Julius Abure and Farouk Ibrahim were said to have been elected LP’s national Chairman and Secretary respectively, urging INEC not to recognise the meeting or its outcome.

According to the petition, among others: “The purported meeting and election were in clear violation of the party’s constitution which recognises the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress as the “platforms” of the party. Coupled with this, Article 13 (2) (a) further provides that the Presidents and General Secretaries of the two central labour organisations (NLC and the TUC) representing the platforms, the Chairperson of the NLC Women Commission are members of the NEC, and the National Convention of the party. Yet they were excluded from this meeting.

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“However, the issue goes beyond exclusion as the so-called NEC represents the continuous commission of the subversion of the party and violation of the orders of the court.

“The Chairman may wish to know that the LP was formed in 2002 by the Nigeria Labour Congress for and on behalf of Nigerian workers. At inception, it was known as Party for Social Democracy, PSD,  However, at its inaugural convention in 2004, it became known as LP, and like LP in other climes, it not only has its roots in the struggles of the working class, it’s ideological perspective is shaped by the contents of those struggles.

“Due to disagreements that culminated in the factionalisation of the party and the setting up of a National Caretaker Committee in 2014, a faction of the party commenced suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/866/2014 between Labour Party &Ors. Vs. Comrade Salisu Mohammed &Ors. After a prolonged legal battle, the parties to the dispute agreed to an amicable settlement complete with terms and conditions which were duly filed in court.”

Justice G.O. Kolawole (now JCA),  in the consent judgment he delivered on March 20, 2018,  stated that the Labour Party (though not a trade union), is an institutional political party of the Nigerian workers, founded,  funded, and promoted by the Nigerian workers through the central labour organisation, the Nigeria Labour Congress in furtherance of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in INEC vs Musa in which the Supreme Court held: “The provisions of section 40 of 1999 Constitution are clear. Their import is to allow ‘every person,’ including public office holders and civil servants, the freedom to assemble freely and associate with other persons to form or belong to any political party, or trade union, or any association for the protection of his interests. The section has made no exception and there is no proviso therein limiting its application to civil servants or public officers.”

“The Justice Kolawole-court ordered the parties to conduct an expansive and inclusive national convention of the party.

We recall too that on August 16, 2019, Justice I.E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court had reason to describe the Labour Party as a lawless party owing to the inglorious conduct of  Salam,  Abure, and co, aided by some  INEC officials, and would have made a consequential pronouncement but for the passionate plea of Mr Kehinde Edun, their counsel.  The Honourable Justice nonetheless, adjourned proceedings to February 5, 2020, for the report of the settlement or an address on why the Court should not order the de-registration of the Labour Party.

In light of the foregoing, we would urge you to regard the purported NEC meeting for what it is, sabotage of the internal party governance, violation of the party constitution, and SUBSISTING Court order.

INEC should not validate this meeting or the decisions that arose from the meeting.

INEC should reflect and resist the temptation to aid or abet any illegality.

It should muster the courage to discipline any of its officers found to be complicit or intending to be complicit in the Labour Party affair. Already, we have it on good authority that one Kingsley, an INEC staff on the payroll of these disparate elements in the Labour Party is the one who ensures that our letters on this matter never get to the Chairman.

We would have protested to the INEC on this matter a long time ago but for the enormous respect, we have for the Chairman. It is our hope that appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken expeditiously. In the absence of this, we would be left with no option other than to exercise our right to protest.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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