There was a commotion at the Presidential Election Tribunal in Abuja on Wednesday as officials of the two factions of the Labour Party clashed.
The drama had started when Lamidi Apapa, factional chairman of the party, walked into the court premises alongside some of his supporters and attempted to sit where Labour Party officials were leading to a shouting match ensued between his camp and the camp of the erstwhile national chairman, Julius Abure.
“Who are you?” a party official from the Abure camp had asked Apapa, who fired back, saying, “You don’t know me? Look at the way you are talking; who are you too?”
As the argument continued, Apapa raised his voice, saying, “Get up, you cannot sit down here.” At the same time, the Secretary of the Presidential election court, Josephine Ekperobe, quickly moved in to ensure normalcy.
The justices who arrived to commence the day’s proceedings also refused to acknowledge the representation of the party aside the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi, who was also present in court.
SaharaReporters learnt that the LP members later celebrated the attack and assault on Apapa at the venue.
“The Labour Party members are celebrating the attack on their factional leader, Lamidi Apapa,” a witness narrated.
The tribunal had refused to take an appearance for the LP as acting National Chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa, and the National Women’s Leader of the party, Dudu Manugu, tried to make an appearance for the Labour Party when the petition was called.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had meanwhile adjourned to Friday, 19 May, the petition the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, filed against the declaration of Bola Tinubu, the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
A few days ago, Apapa had called for the arrest of anyone who agitates for an interim government in Nigeria, including Peter Obi, the party’s candidate in the 2023 presidential election.
This had been disclosed in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the party’s faction, Abayomi Arabambi, on Saturday.
This stance was against some supporters of Obi, popularly called ‘Obidients’ who have been calling for the suspension of the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s President on 29 May 2023, pending the determination of the electoral petitions filed by the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party to challenge Tinubu’s victory.
In the statement, Arabambi described the action of people trying to stop Tinubu’s inauguration as anti-democratic.
The party under Apapa had said: “If anyone calls for an interim administration, including Peter Obi, they should be arrested by the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba-Alkali.
“Nobody is above the law. You cannot seek to plunge Nigeria into war and say you want to rule that country.
“We, in the Labour Party, are saying a capital ‘NO’ to such an evil call by Peter Obi that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should not be sworn in come May 29.
“Henceforth, anyone calling for the establishment of an interim administration and threatening fire and brimstone and conducting themselves in a way that is likely to cause a breach of peace should be arrested.”