By Ononye VC
In a sweeping resolution, the Labour Party’s National Executive Council (NEC) has suspended key members of the National Working Committee (NWC), including Lamidi Apapa, Alhaji Salem Lawal, Prince Favour Reuben, Gbenga Daramola, Samuel Akingbade, and Mohammed Akali.
In a communiqué issued on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, and made available to newsmen, the party’s NEC revealed that the decision comes after the session examined the anti-party activities of its members and made several recommendations.
Comrade Ansalem Eragbe, the party’s national youth leader, and Mr Abayomi Arabambe, the acting publicity secretary, were expelled from the party after being found guilty of anti-party activities.
The NEC meeting was held at Orchid Hotel, Asaba, Delta State, and was attended by high-profile party members, including Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the LP; Valentine Ozigbo, a 2021 Anambra gubernatorial candidate; Senator Victor Umeh and some other members-elect of the National Assembly; representatives from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); the general secretary of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Barr Emma Ugboaja; and the general secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Nuhu Abba Toro.
The resolution, signed by Comrade Ladi Iliya, the LP’s deputy national chairman, and Prince Kennedy Ohanotu, the deputy national secretary (now acting national youth leader), condemned the use of thugs, ballot snatching, and rewriting of results witnessed during the 2023 general elections in collation centres as a dangerous trend in the democratic process. The NEC noted that this trend might slide the country into a civilian dictatorship, which it deemed worse than a military dictatorship.
In the resolution, the NEC called on the judiciary to “do the right thing irrespective of whose ox is gored” and promote acts that enhance democracy, fundamental freedom, the rule of law, and the doctrine of separation of powers.
The party’s NEC also sympathised with Nigerians who have continued to wallow in leadership-inflicted poverty, hunger, unemployment, insecurity, poor infrastructure, and underdevelopment and reassured them that a Labour Party government would change these narratives.
In addition to the suspensions, the NEC constituted a disciplinary committee to try the erring members and make recommendations to the next NEC. The committee comprises Ladi Iliya, Rotimi Adekunle, Prince Kennedy Ahanotu, Yunusa Tanko, and Chief Tony Ezeagwu.
In line with its powers, the NEC proceeded to fill several vacant positions and extended the tenure of the current NWC for 12 months, citing the need to remain focused and reorganise the party.
Prince Kennedy Ohanotu is to serve as acting national youth leader; Mr Obiorah Ifoh, acting national publicity secretary; Mr Edun Kehinde, acting national legal adviser; Mr Rotimi Adekunle, acting national deputy secretary; and Chief Anthony Ezeagwu, acting national vice chairman (South South).
A publicity committee was also set up with Dr Yunusa Tanko as the head and Mr Kenneth Okonkwo, a Nollywood legend, as a member.
“The Labour Party’s NEC is taking decisive action to address the controversies and challenges facing the party, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining a strong democratic process within the country,” the communiqué read in part.