On Friday, the Abuja High Court granted an order of stay of execution on the suspension of Julius Abure, Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), and others.
Mr. Clement Ojukwu, National Organizing Secretary, and National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara, are also barred from acting as LP national officers as granted by the High Court
Martins Esikpali John, Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, John Elomah, and Dr Ayobami Arabambi are the plaintiffs in the case.
They had sought the dismissal of Abure and three other national officers of the party in an ex-parte motion numbered M/7082/2023, to which the judge issued an order of suspension.
After hearing arguments from the parties, the judge granted an order to halt execution pending the outcome of the defendant’s appeal.
On April 5, Justice Muazu ordered an interim injunction prohibiting Abure, Ibrahim, `the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Mr Clement Ojukwu, and National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara, from acting as LP national officers.
This was stated in an ex-parte motion filed before the court by the eight plaintiffs, designated M/7082/2023.
During today’s hearing, the defendants informed the court that they have a notice of appeal pending with the court.
After lengthy deliberation by the parties, the judge issued a stay of the suspension.
Following Justice Muazu’s ex-parte injunction of April 5 against Abure, Ibrahim, and two other national executives of the party, Alex Ejesieme, SAN contended on April 20 that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
The senior lawyer said that the topic before the court touched on the internal affairs of the Labour Party, and that criminal claims brought by the plaintiffs in the case could not be addressed in an originating summon.
He further stated that the eight plaintiffs who filed the matter before the court were not members of the party’s National Executive Council and hence lacked locus standing to bring the lawsuit.
“Our contention is very clear,” Ejesieme says, “that those criminal allegations cannot be ventilated in an origination summon.”
“The locus standing problem exists. According to the LP constitution, the claimants are not members of the NEC or the party.
They owed it to the court to submit their membership credentials, which they failed to do.”
While objecting to Abure’s preliminary objection, counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr George Ibrahim, urged the court to dismiss it.
According to him, the first through fourth defendants had yet to comply with the court’s April 5 ruling since they were still posing as LP national officers.
The court’s order of April 5 remains in effect as a result of its ruling on having jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The judge then postponed hearing the substantive case until today.
Previously, the plaintiffs had informed the court, through their counsel, Ogwu Onoja SAN, that Abure and the three other national officials allegedly forged several FCT High Court documents, including receipts, seals, and affidavits, in order to carry out illegal substitutions in the last general election.
According to Onoja, the four people will be charged in court following their indictment by police inquiry, and warrants for their arrest have already been acquired.