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Labour Party Board of Trustees Seizes Control, Declares National Convention Invalid 

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ABUJA, Nigeria – In an unexpected turn of events, the Labour Party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) has declared its intervention to take over the party’s leadership, sidelining Julius Abure who was recently re-elected as national chairman during the party’s convention in Nnewi, Anambra State.

The move, announced late Wednesday, March 27, 2024 by BoT Chairman S.O.Z. Ejiofor, underscores a deepening rift within the party, exacerbated by the Nigeria Labour Congress’s (NLC) opposition to Abure’s leadership.

The LP BoT promised an “all-inclusive and expansive National Convention”.

The Nnewi convention, which saw Abure’s contested re-election and was marked by the absence of key party figures like Peter Obi, the party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, and Alex Otti, governor of Abia State, has been outrightly dismissed by the BoT as a “charade.”

In stepping forward, the BoT aims to prevent a leadership vacuum and asserts its actions are in compliance with the Labour Party Constitution and a Federal High Court ruling that mandates an inclusive convention process.

This internal party dispute draws attention not only for its impact on the Labour Party’s cohesion but also for its potential ramifications on Nigeria’s broader political landscape, particularly as the party had gained significant traction in the recent elections.

INEC Disavows Labour Party National Convention Held in Anambra

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially disassociated itself from the Labour Party’s (LP) National Convention held in Anambra State.

Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, communicated the commission’s stance in a conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, March 28, 2024.

According to Oyekanmi, INEC did not monitor the convention, a crucial process typically overseen by the commission to ensure compliance with the Electoral Act.

The reasons for INEC’s non-participation were not disclosed.

Julius Abure, the embattled National Chairman of the Labour Party, was re-elected in the controversial national convention.

The LP’s decision to relocate the convention from Umuahia in Abia State to Nnewi, Anambra State, emerged amidst confusion.

Originally scheduled for Umuahia, the venue had already been moved from an initial choice of Benin before settling on Nnewi.

Kehinde Edun, the LP’s National Legal Adviser, stated that the party had properly notified INEC about the venue and date changes, emphasising the party’s autonomy in choosing its convention location, provided that INEC is informed as required by law.

Under Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, political parties are mandated to give INEC at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, or meeting convened for crucial activities such as mergers, electing executive committee members, or nominating candidates.

The situation raises questions about the adherence to electoral laws and the communication processes between INEC and political parties.

With the Labour Party’s insistence that it had duly informed the commission about the changes in venue and time, the disavowal by INEC points to a potential oversight or miscommunication that could have broader implications for the political and electoral landscape in Nigeria.

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