Justice Hamza Muazu of a High Court in Abuja has issued an order of stay of execution on the suspension of Julius Abure, Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), and several other officials.
Edotodaynews reports that this order prevents them from parading themselves as national officials of the party.
The plaintiffs in the case, Martins Esikpali John, Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, John Elomah, and Dr Ayobami Arabambi, filed an ex-parte motion (marked M/7082/2023) seeking the removal of Abure and the three other national officers.
During the hearing, the defendants informed the court that they had a pending notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal. After considering arguments from both parties, the judge granted the order for a stay of execution until the appeal is determined.
Justice Muazu had previously issued an interim injunction on April 5, preventing Abure, Ibrahim, and two other national officials of the party, Clement Ojukwu and Oluchi Opara, from presenting themselves as national officers of the LP. This injunction was based on an ex-parte motion (marked M/7082/2023) brought by the eight plaintiffs.
In response to the preliminary objection raised by the counsel for Abure, Alex Ejesieme, SAN argued on April 20 that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Ejesieme stated that the case concerned the internal affairs of the Labour Party and that the criminal allegations made by the plaintiffs could not be addressed through an originating summons. He further contended that the plaintiffs, who were not members of the party’s National Executive Council, lacked the necessary standing to bring the case.
Counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr George Ibrahim, objected to the preliminary objection and urged the court to dismiss it. He argued that the defendants had not complied with the court’s April 5 order, as they were still representing themselves as national officers of the LP. However, the judge adjourned the case until today to hear the substantive arguments.
Recall that the plaintiffs, through their counsel, Ogwu Onoja SAN, had informed the court that Abure and the three other national officials had allegedly forged various documents of the FCT High Court, including receipts, seals, and affidavits, to carry out unlawful substitutions in the previous general election.
Onoja argued that the four individuals had been indicted by police investigations and were due to be arraigned in court, with warrants for their arrest already obtained.
Today’s order puts a temporary halt to Apapa’s efforts to assert his authority and control over the party.