Apapa Faction Makes U-turn, Endorses Abure as Labour Party Chairman

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The leadership crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) seems to have finally come to an end as the factions led by Chairman Julius Abure and Lamidi Apapa have put aside their differences and agreed to work together.

The rift began in April 2023 when a court judgment restrained Abure and three others from parading themselves as national officers of the party. Despite this, Abure maintained his position with the support of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

However, Abure’s relationship with the NLC soured after a controversial national convention in Anambra that returned Abure and his loyalists to office.

The NLC subsequently retracted its support for the new leadership and established a transition committee to conduct a fresh convention.

Facing pressure from the NLC led by its National President, Joe Ajaero and the party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, it has been revealed that Abure reached out to the Apapa faction for unity.

A source close to the LP national secretariat confirmed that Abure sought to close ranks with Apapa’s faction to present a united front against the NLC’s demands.

“It is the only logical way for him to have a united front against the threat of the NLC in particular. I believe you already know Abure has a long history with Lamidi Apapa and Abayomi Arabambi before now,” the source said.

Abayomi Arabambi, spokesman for the Apapa faction, confirmed the reconciliation. He said that they had no issues with Abure initially, but rather with the NLC’s perceived attempt to hijack the party.

He said, “We are together to stop all those political hawks from taking over our party. We thought they (NLC) were fighting for a just cause. But it is very obvious they only want to take over our party and we are not going to accept that. We in the Lamidi Apapa group are not lawbreakers like those who supported Abure in disobeying the court order. I have said this several times on air.

“It was because of this threat that Abure extended an olive branch for all of us to bond together. It was obvious that these people were not only with him to fight us but to take over the control of the party. So we cannot be outside and allow some people to take over our party. That was why Abure asked us to come together in the party’s interest.

“We are here to fight those people who want to use the Labour Party to foment trouble and destabilize the country. That is what we are against. Nobody is contesting or running for any election now. We know the next race is in 2027. Why should we now be seeking ways to bring the nation down? We are averse to that.”

He added, “I also want you to know that there is nothing like Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign here anymore. It has been dissolved. Everybody has reverted to former governorship and presidential candidate. We don’t want disinformation at the Labour Party.

“Again, you recall that there was a crisis in APC and the PDP. Yet, the warring parties came together and resolved it. So what stopped us from resolving ours? When you are fighting, there is no permanent enemy. It is all about permanent interest.”

National Publicity Secretary Obiora Ifoh also confirmed the reunion.

He said, “Labour Party is united. We do not have a division in the sense that as a party that came out of the election hugely successful with a lot of results to show, several people would want to have a stake in the Labour Party. The implication is that a lot of stone-throwing and interest will begin to manifest. But the Labour Party has a constitution and it has a rule completely spelt out.

“Anybody that tries to go out of it will get his hand burnt because the law will not support what you are doing just as the NLC is doing. Besides, we have never seen the Lamidi Apapa people as having their camp because there’s only one camp. That is the one led by Julius Abure.

“Of course, they have the right to be aggrieved and take positions that are not aligned with the interest of the party. But as soon as they discovered it was not the right way, I think they took the better decision to begin to retrace their steps. That is what we have seen.”

He stated further, “Many people who were involved in anti-party activities in the past are beginning to discover that the laws are not on their side. The best thing is to retrace their steps and return to the fold.

“So many other persons have indicated interest in returning to the party. LP does not have any problem with that. Our doors are wide open. If you are out in the cold and you need shelter in the Labour Party, we will bring you back and shelter you.

“The distinguished gentleman you just mentioned (Arabambi) is still our member. He has also recognised Julius Abure as the only national chairman. The party is coming together and I can tell you that the party is a lot more united now than ever.”

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