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Nigeria’s Electoral Body, INEC Says It Won’t Recognise Labour Party’s Controversial National Convention

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It was reported on March 23, that the Nigeria Labour Congress wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Legal Adviser of the Labour Party to desist from validating the illegal Labour Party National Convention scheduled for March 27, 2024.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disassociated itself from Wednesday’s national convention organised by the Labour Party in Anambra State.

The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the conduct of the convention was not monitored by INEC.

 

Although he declined to state why it was not monitored, SaharaReporters has done several reports about the crisis rocking the party.

SaharaReporters reported on March 23, that the Nigeria Labour Congress wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Legal Adviser of the Labour Party to desist from validating the illegal Labour Party National Convention scheduled for March 27, 2024.

 

In separate letters dated March 22, 2024, addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu and the National Legal Adviser of the Labour Party, NLC warned that if they did not desist and stop the Convention, it would sue them for contempt in view of the two valid judgements of the Federal High Court.

 

SaharaReporters also recently reported that members of the NLC picketed the offices of Labour Party nationwide, over alleged financial mismanagement by the Julius Abure-led national leadership of the party.

 

NLC had cited the unilateral decision of the National Chairman of LP, Julius Abure to hold a National Convention, amid allegations of financial rascality and contempt for the leadership of the NLC, as reasons for the picketing of the party’s offices nationwide.

 

According to him, the party belongs to the labour union.

 

NLC in the letter to both INEC Chairman and LP’s Legal Adviser said the proposed National Convention of the Labour Party is in violation of the valid orders of the court in a suit numbered (1) FHC/ABJ/CS/491/2021; (2) FHC/ABJ/CS/866/2014, between; (1) Labour Party & 9 Ors Vs Barrister Julius Abure & 2 Ors; (2) Labour Party & 3 Ors. Vs Com. Salisu Muhammed & 8 Ors.”

 

In the letter signed by Marshal Abubakar, LP., NLC specifically warned the National Legal Officer of LP that if the convention holds in violation of the orders of the court, it would not only institute contempt proceedings against him being party to the two judgements of the court but will report him to the disciplinary committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

 

The organised labour also appealed to the INEC chairman to prevent officials of the Commission from undermining the due administration of justice and respect for the rule of law by attending the illegal convention.

 

SaharaReporters had reported that the LP on Tuesday shifted the convention from Umuahia in Abia State to Nnewi, Anambra State.

 

The LP National Legal Adviser, Mr Kehinde Edun, had told reporters on the venue change, that the party had duly informed INEC about the change in venue and date.

 

“No, it is holding in Anambra. Nnewi, to be precise, not Umuahia in Abia State again. In fact, Umuahia was not even the first venue we chose. Benin was the first choice before we changed to Umuahia and now Nnewi.

 

“So, we are at liberty to pick any venue of our choice. We only need to inform INEC about the change in venue and the time,” Edun said.

 

Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 states that political parties shall give INEC at least 21 days’ notice of convention, congress, conference or meeting.

 

This includes the convention or meeting convened for “merger” and electing members of its executive committees and other governing bodies or nominating candidates.

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