A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the case of Julius Abure-led Labour Party’s National Working Committee till 4 October 2021 for hearing.
While giving his judgment on Friday, 23 July 2021, Justice I.E Ekwo ordered “the parties to maintain status quo ante bellum in other not to disturb the matter pending further order of the this Court.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled to set aside the National Working Committee of the Labour Party which was controlled by Julius Abure and Umar Farouq as the National Chairman and the National Secretary of the party respectively.
In his judgment on Friday, Justice I.E Ekwo ordered “the parties to maintain status quo ante bellum in other not to disturb the matter pending further order of the this Court.”
The matter in which the Labour Party and others were the plaintiffs had Abure and Farouq as defendants in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/149/2021.
Human rights lawyer and lead counsel to the plaintiffs, Femi Falana (SAN), while addressing the Court, had specified that the defendants converged and held a purportedly National Executive Council/National Convention.
It was claimed to have elected the defendants as national officials of the party in contravention to the judgment of the same Federal High Court that had in 2018 declared the Labour Party as the party of the Nigerian workers, promoted, funded, and founded by the workers through the central Labour organisation.
A copy of the order of the court obtained by SaharaReporters reads, “Upon this suit coming up today, July 23, 2021 for Motion Ex-Parte, and for hearing with Femi Falana, SAN, (with Marshal Abubakar).
“It is hereby ordered as follows: the applicants are hereby ordered to put the Defendants on notice of the Ex-Parte Motion within seven days of this Order.
“Defendants are hereby ordered to show cause why the prayers of the Plaintiffs ought not to be granted on the next date of hearing.
“An Order is hereby made for Parties to maintain status quo ante bellum in other not to disturb the rest of the matter pending further order of the Court.
“The case was adjourned to 4th October, 2021 for hearing.”
It would be recalled that trouble started, March this year when a group, led by Julius Abure and Farouk Ibrahim who wanted to hijack the party were challenged by the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The duo, Julius Abure and Farouk Ibrahim were elected as chairman and secretary at the purported National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Party on Monday, March 29, 2021 held in Benin City, Edo State.
Irked by that move, NLC challenging their move dragged them to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba urged INEC not to recognise the newly elected chairman and secretary of the party and to court of law for proper interpretation of their action.
In that protest, Wabba in a letter dated April 12, which was directed to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, argued that 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.
Wabba explained in the letter that Article 13 (2) (a) further provides that the Presidents and General Secretaries of the two central labour organisations, the Chairperson of the NLC Women Commission who by virtue of their positions ought to be members of the NEC and the National Convention of the party were excluded from both the meeting and election which took place in Benin, Edo State.
This exclusion, according to Wabba, made it null and void, adding that apart from the exclusion, the meeting also violated orders of the court.
He explained, ”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.
”Honourable 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 provision: 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 provision 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.
”However, serial acts of subversion by A.A Salam (then erstwhile chairman and now deceased), and Julius Abure (then acting national secretary) and a few others in collaboration with some INEC officials frustrated this process.
”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.”