The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, set aside the Julius Abure-led National Working Committee (NWC), of the Labour Party.
The order was issued at the instance of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and others who accused Mr Abure of illegally emerging as the leader of the party.
Ruling after listening to the lawyer to the NLC and other plaintiffs, the trial judge, Inyang Ekwo, ordered parties to stay action on the dispute pending the determination of the substantive suit.
“Parties to maintain status quo ante bellum in other not to disturb the res of the matter pending further order of this Court’ (status quo prior to the National Executive Council Meeting) that purportedly produced JULIUS ABURE as Chairman and one UMAR FAROUQ as National Secretary respectively,” the judge said.
The plaintiffs who filed the suit are the NLC, the Labour Party, Salihu Mohammed, Lawson Osagie, Baba Aye, Ikpe Etokudo, Sylvester Ejiofor, Lucy Ofion, and Salamatu Aliyu.
The defendants sued by the plaintiffs are Julius Abure and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Arguing his plaintiffs’ case on Friday, Femi Falana, faulted the legality of the national convention that was said to have produced Mr Abura as chairman of the Labour Party as well as other national officials of the party.
He informed the court that the exercise was in flagrant contravention of the judgement of the 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.
The court ordered the plaintiffs to serve court processes on the defendants within seven days from the date of the foregoing orders.
Subsequently, Mr Ekwo adjourned the matter till October 4 for further hearing of the motion on notice.
The NLC had petitioned the INEC Chairman, Mahnoud Mohammed, over perceived disobedience of the court order and breach of the Labour Party Constitution.
In the petition by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the union accused the electoral umpire of conniving with certain individuals to subvert the valid court order.
The petition alleged that a purported meeting of the National Executive Council of the LP was held on March 29, 2021, in Benin at which Messrs Julius Abure and Farouk Ibrahim were said to have been elected LP’s national Chairman and Secretary respectively, urging INEC not to recognise the meeting or its outcome.
It would be recalled that a former judge of the Federal High Court, Gabriel Kolawole (now Justice of the Court of Appeal), 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, NLC.
This, the judge said, was in furtherance of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in INEC vs Musa.
“The provisions 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 proviso therein limiting its application to civil servants or public officers,” the judge had quoted the Supreme Court as saying.
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