NLC, Abure-led NWC Sustain Battle for Labour Party Control

*Labour reveals 2022 agreements, LP justifies ownership via 2015 INEC letter

*Embattled national treasurer urges Abure to honour agreements

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The crises rocking Labour Party (LP) over its ownership is not by any means abating as both the Julius Abure-led National Working Committee (NWC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have gone to their respective archives to prove who actually owns the party.
Documents made available to THISDAY yesterday, showed that the agreement brokered between both camps in 2022, was that there must be elections from wards, local governments, states, before the national convention.

But the national convention conducted on March 27, 2024, by Abure, did not respect the agreement.
However, the Abure-led leadership of the LP in response, went into its archive to produce historical limitations to the powers of the NLC over the party.
In a letter dated June 28, 2022, on the agreement that was addressed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), signed by the NLC and LP respectively, stated thus, “We write to inform you that the mediation initiative brokered by INEC in the dispute between the NLC and LP has been successfully consummated on the 27th of June 2022.

“The consummation of the resolution is established in a terms of Settlement which was willingly reached without any duress whatsoever between the two parties, the NLC and LP and validated by the signatures of former President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba; the National Chairman of the LP, Julius Abure; General Secretary of the NLC, Emmanuel Ugboaja, and the National Secretary of LP, Alhaji Umar Farouk Ibrahim.”

The letter which was acknowledged by the office of Chairman of INEC on July 6, 2022, further stated: “In light of the foregoing, we forward herewith with the letter a hard copy of the Terms of Settlement for your consideration Please accept the renewed assurances of our highest esteem.”
The terms of agreement between LP and the NLC read: “Consequent upon the Mediation brokered by the INEC between the NLC and the LP which commenced on the 26th of April, 2022, and at which commitments were made for an improved cordial relationship between the two parties consequent on the Court Judgement by Justice Gabriel Kolawole delivered on 20th March 2018.

“Subsequent to the resolutions of the 2019 National Convention and the 2021 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the LP, mandating the National Working Committee (NWC) of the LP to fill vacant and reserved positions in the NWV
“It is hereby agreed as follows: The following persons are to fill the vacancies in the NWC of the LP: Comrade Ladi Iliya – Deputy Chairman; Comrade Olorunfemi – Deputy Chairman; Alhaji Mohammed Umaru – Vice Chairman, North West
“The nominations above are in addition to the statutory positions held by the NLC and TUC in the NWC and NEC of the LP. This shall come into effect immediately after signing.

“The following nominations from the NLC will be members of the Board of Trustees of the Labour Party: Comrade S.O.Z. Ejiofor – Chairman; Comrade Salisu Mohammed – Member; Comrade Lawson Osagie – Member; Comrade Najeem Yasin – Member.
“Other members of the Board of Trustees will be nominated as soon as possible after due consultation and the board will be inaugurated not later than one month from signing the accord.

“The Ward, Local Government, State and National Convention of the Labour Party shall be convened not later than one year of the signing of this Terms of Settlement,” the terms of agreement stated, adding that this would be followed with immediate commencement of intensive membership drive into the LP with the aim of mobilising 10 million Nigerians into the party.

The terms of agreement further stated that all pending cases in court related thereto were to be discontinued.
In another letter to LP, which was copied to INEC, the NLC also stated, “However, we wish to express our disappointment that most of the commitments mutually-agreed-upon has-not-been-respected by-the-LP under your leadership.

“For example, you have not implemented item (c) and (d) in the settlement by acknowledging membership and inaugurating the Board of Trustees of the Party.”
Specifically, NLC pointed out that, “(e), which stipulates that the National Convention of the Party, including Wards and States should be convened not later than one year of the signing of the Terms of Settlement.

“We are concerned that all discussions and entreaties from us for you to inaugurate an important organ as the Board of Trustees of the Party and commence activities for convening the National Convention have met with deaf ears.
“Consequently, we wish to put you on notice that we stand irrevocably by the Terms of Settlement that the all-inclusive National Convention of the Party should hold as scheduled one year after signing the agreement on 27th June, 2023. Anything contrary to this will not be acceptable to Congress.”

Meanwhile, the LP went into its archive to produce historical limitations to the powers of the NLC over the party.
It produced a letter from INEC in 2015, which stated that the NLC does not have any status conferred by the statute over LP, but enjoys the status of any member of the party.

The letter written in 2015, signed by Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, Secretary to the Commission, and addressed to Wabba, read: “With reference to your letter on the above subject dated August 5, 2015, I am directed to inform you that the Commission has reviewed relevant documents and records in its possession in respect of the Labour Party and has established the following:
“Membership of the LP as provided in Articles 1 and 9 of the LP’s Constitution, 2009, does not confer any special or superior status on the Nigeria Labour Congress.”

The letter, INEC/DEPMI/LP/16/T/68, was titled: “Re: request for INEC’s Urgent Intervention to Arrest the Activities of an Imposter Group in Labour Party.”
The letter further stated, “In accordance with Article 15(7) of the LP constitution, 2009, the elected NEC has a tenure of four years.”

In a related development, the embattled national treasurer of Labour party, Oluchi Oparah has chided the Abure-led party, stating the mark of a good and trustworthy person was in his ability to keep his words and respect agreement reached in the course of mediation settlement agreement in the presence of INEC.
She said this in a statement she signed.
According to her, “It is only a morally bankrupt individual  who has no moral character that will reach, sign an agreement and then go publicly to deny such agreement.

“The document above will prove to you what I have been saying about the existence of an agreement between the LP and NLC.
“Abure and his cohort cannot continue on this path of lies and deception to justify their illegally convened and purportedly conducted national convention.
“This agreement was signed consequent upon the mediation brokered by INEC between the NLC and the LP which commenced on the 26th of April, 2022, and at which commitments were made for an improved cordial relationship between the two parties consequent on the court Judgement by Justice Gabriel Kolawole delivered on the 20th March 2018.”

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