Comrade Maria Labeke, the acting national chairman of the Labour Party, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise Barrister Julius Abure as the leader of the party.
This followed the death of the national chairman of the party, Comrade A.A Salam on 29th December, 2020.
Labeke in a petition to INEC dated April 13 accused Abure, who is currently the national secretary of LP of forgery, impersonation, harassment, intimidation and hijacking of party’s structure from her.
She added that Abure manipulated the late Salam to take the party away from its core values.
The petition read, “That on the 29th day of December 2020, the National Secretary of the party, Barrister Julius Abure called me and informed me that the party’s Chairman, Comrade A. A. Salam is dead, he proposed to me that as the oldest Deputy National Chairman of the Party, I should automatically assume the position of acting National Chairman of the party. I informed him that I will not be a party to discussion centered on immediately taking over the position of my boss, Comrade A. A. Salam who just died on the same date.
“We hold a meeting of the available members of the National Working Committee and after some consultations, it was resolved that I step in from being the Deputy National Chairman to the acting National Chairman.
“Julius Abure manipulatively brought a letter to me to sign informing me that the letter was a notification to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) inviting them to a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Party.
“The NEC meeting was initially scheduled to hold at Delta State, but Julius Abure changed the venue to his hometown of Benin, Edo State, The reason given for this manipulative action was that he is on the ground in Edo State and that he would deplore sufficient things to protect my interest whenever any person (s) wants to plan against me.
“Julius Abere always brags about influence with the Independent National Electoral Commission and his ability to dispatch things at will. Several times, he has informed me that he has moles at the INEC’S office that he pays and are always ready to do his bidding and give him information whenever any attempt is made to right the various atrocities he commits against the party.
“On Sunday, the 25th day of March, 2021, some members of the National Executive Council of the party came to inform me that there would be an election to elect a new Chairman of the party, that there are plans to eliminate me if I resist the heist that Julius Abere is planning.
“I promptly directed Julius Abere in my capacity as the acting National Chairman of the party to convey a National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to decide the agenda for the National Executive Council meeting (NEC) but Julius Abere refuted the directive.
“Rather than comply with the directive as required by the party’s Constitution, 2009, Julius Abere on the 29th day of March, 2021 at about 8 am approached me and offered to compensate me for all the money I had expended nurturing the party and that he had perfected plans to emerge as the Chairman of the party that same date and that since I didn’t have money and alone in his state, he would emerge and that there was nothing I could do about it.
“I promptly informed him that producing another chairman was not part of the agenda of the NEC meeting and as the acting National Chairman of the party, I would not subscribe to such illegality
that clearly violates the party’s constitution and the Electoral Act of Nigeria.
“As promised, Julius Abure dispatched thugs to every nook and cranny of the hotel where the meeting was held, after the conclusion of the agenda of the National Electoral Committee meeting which where (1) Opening Prayer, (2) Remarks by the Acting National Chairman, (3) Secretariat Report , (4) Matters Arising from the Report (5) Presentation of Adopted Resolution- at the point of reaching the sixth item, being the A.O.B, someone from the crowd stated that Julius Abere made the chairman of the party from that day. The thugs were on ground intimidated everyone as none of us could against the plans of Julius Abere.
“Immediately that motion asking that Julius Abere be made the Chairman was seconded, Abere brought out several documents from his folders and coerced me into signing each and everyone of them without perusing through (through the aid of the thugs he had on the ground). Mr Chairman, I was specifically told that unless I corporate and abide by whatever they do, and sign everything that was brought before me, I would not leave their city alive.”
Labeke said the procedure adopted in holding the National Executive Council meetings to nominate and appoint Abere is unknown to the party’s constitution.
“The election of a National Chairman was not part of the published agenda for the National Executive Council meeting held on the 29th March, 2021 in Benin City. I have attached a copy of the said agenda for your perusal sir,” she added.
“Even though my name was forwarded to the Commission as the Acting National Chairman of the party, Julius Abere continued to retain the name of Late Alhaji Abdulkadri A. Salam (Baradenpaiko) as the National Chairman at other forum.
“Julius Abere as a lawyer manipulated the former Chairman of the party, Comrade A. A. Salam to estrange the party from its core values and as the party of the Nigerian workers which was founded by the Nigerian workers who donated money to union leaders to form the Labour Party on behalf of us the workers. (I retired as a Director and a unionist with the National Union of Local Government Employees; NULGE). I was one of those drafted from NULGE to form the party from the cradle in 2003 while Comrade Ejofor (the then General Secretary of the Civil Services Union) was appointed as the pioneer acting National Chairman. I was the 1st National Treasurer of the party and held the position for ten years, after I was drafted in from NULGE alongside Comrade A. A. Salam from where I rose to the position of acting National Chairman. Julius Abere was never part of this struggle and has only come to reap where he did not sow.
“It is my prayer, Mr Chairman, Sir, that the Commission should not recognise Julius Abere and all the persons he produced from the charade Benin NEC meeting as same was done in violation of the party’s only recognised constitution, the 2009 constitution.
“Julius Abere has successfully ostracised core members of the NWC, NEC and stakeholders of the party with the active connivance of some unscrupulous INEC officials whom he always brags are ready to do his bidding for a fee. Some of our people are ready to slug it out with him but have decided to follow the appropriate channel by first following the due process of law by contacting the commission.”