The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that the Labour Party and some of its officials be served with a fresh suit pertaining to its leadership crisis through a substituted means.
THISDAY gathered yesterday that the judge, Inyang Ekwo, made the order on Monday, after hearing an ex parte application filed by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Calistus Okafor.
In the court order seen by THISDAY, the judge ordered that the defendants be served through the pasting of the court documents filed by the plaintiff at the Labour Party’s secretariat in Abuja within seven days.
Okafor, a factional leader of the party, is challenging the legality of the leadership of Akingbade Oyelakin, whom he alleged, “represents persons wrongfully and unlawfully parading themselves as members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of Labour Party.”
He also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a co-defendant.
Others sued by Okafor included Julius Abure and Umar Farouq, who emerged as the national chairman and the secretary of the party, respectively, at a national executive committee meeting of the party held in Benin, Edo State, in March 2021.
The rest of the defendants sued by the defendants were members of the committee set up by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to take over the affairs of the party.
The committee members are Salisu Mohammed, Lawson Osagie, Isa Aremu, Baba Aye, Ikpe Ektokudo, Sylvester Ejiofor, and Lucy Offiong. Sued along with them was one Salamatu Aliyu and the NLC.
The court in its order issued on Monday, had ordered a, “substituted service of the originating summons, interlocutory injunction, and all other processes in this suit on the 1st to 3rd, 6th to 12th and 14th defendants by pasting the said processes at their political party’s office, which is the 5th defendant’s office, located at No 2, Oke Agbe Street, Off Ladoke Akintoal Boulevard, Garki 11, Abuja.”
The 1st to 3rd defendants are Abure, Farouq and Oyelakin. The 6th to the 12th defendants are the members of the NLC committee and the 14th defendant is Aliyu.
The court ordered that the service must be effected “within seven days of this order.”
The judge then adjourned the case until June 30, 2022, “for further mention.”
THISDAY had reported how Okafor threatened to file the suit and how the legal action might threaten the presidential ambition of a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week and joined the Labour Party to pursue his presidential aspiration in the faction led by Abure.
Okafor had also told THISDAY that Obi decided to defect to LP without proper information on the fact that the party’s leadership had been a subject of litigation since 2018.
Okafor had claimed that he remained the authentic national chairman of the party. He had explained that he got the post by virtue of his position as Deputy National Chairman of the party when the late National Chairman, Abdulsalam, was in office. He added that Abure, who is currently leading a faction of the party, was then Acting National Secretary, when Abdulsalam, died in 2020.
Okafor had further claimed that Abure announced himself as National Chairman without recourse to the provisions of the party’s constitution, following Abdulsalam’s demise. He had said the LP constitution stipulated that the Deputy National Chairman should act and/or replace the chairman in the event of death or resignation.
Culled from THISDAY