CNPP Warns Labour Party Leaders Against Influence of External Forces
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The warring Labour Party leaders have been advised to quickly close ranks and not allow the influence of external forces, who intend to control the political party and put it in disarray.
Two persons are fighting over the control of the party described by some observers as the third force as it disrupted the political scene in the 2023 general elections.
The faction led by Mr Lamidi Apapa, which has been accused of being backed by the President-elect, Mr Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is claiming to be the authentic leader of Labour Party, while Mr Julius Abure says he is the National Chairman of the opposition party.
While intervening in the matter, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) called on the two factions to “find common grounds and sustain its new position as a third force in the current national politics.”
“There is nothing unusual about a political party having a leadership tussle or any form of disagreement, but its ability to close ranks and make compromises in the interest of the party is paramount,” the group said in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu.
CNPP urged “the parties in the leadership crisis to always remember that no individual’s desire is bigger than party’s interest”, saying that “if Labour Party leaders allow external forces to control its internal affairs, the party will be the loser, especially with its newfound love with the majority of the Nigerian youth population.”
Continuing, the CNPP stated that “Every political party at one time or the other gets enmeshed in leadership crisis due to conflicts of interests. However, it is the responsibility of the fathers of the party to rise to the occasion and ensure that the fortunes of the party are not adversely affected.
“The overall interests of a political party must be paramount at all times as power can only be shared when it is taken.
“In the build-up to the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had a taste of such internal crisis, which eventually affected its outing in the last general elections very negatively.
“In the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the party is currently entangled in its own clash of interests over what certain interests in the party see as arbitrary micro-zoning of elective positions in the 10th National Assembly to individuals.
“It is, therefore, incumbent on a political party’s fathers to weigh options and rise up to the responsibility of cushioning the impact of whatever internal conflicts that may arise without allowing external influences to drive its affairs.
“Obviously, the Labour Party went into the 2023 general elections without deliberately healing its internal grievances, which initially led to the setting up of a Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee.
“Amid the then budding crisis in the party, Labour Party had constituted two committees; a disciplinary committee to handle Ogun State Executive crisis and another tagged the Labour Party Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee (LPSPCRC) to handle every other matter that has to do with grievances and mischief within the party.
“It is then very obvious that the current crisis stems from the inability of the National Executive Committee (NWC) of the party, which constituted the eleven eminent members Committee headed by Chief Friday Toyin Ibadin, to resolve the then brewing crisis despite having a single term of reference “to reconcile all aggrieved members with the aim of a common front to win the 2023 general elections and Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed becoming the President and Vice President of Nigeria.”
“It is therefore expedient that the party elders return the warring parties to the path of reconciliation as the current rigid approach to the conflict resolution will most likely tear the party apart.
“It has been observed that both parties in the leadership conflict have turned the ongoing Presidential Election Petition before the tribunal as their major area of propaganda, whereas the provisions of the law are clear on withdrawal of such petitions.
“The Electoral Act 2022 under ‘Withdrawal and Abatement of Petition’, reads Section 29. (1) An election petition shall not be withdrawn without leave of the tribunal or court. (2) Where petitioners are more than one, no application for leave to withdraw the election petition shall be made, ‘except with the consent of all the petitioners’.
“The CNPP, therefore, advises the warring factions in the ongoing Labour Party leadership crisis to pursue common grounds for reconciliation rather than resorting to the deployment of propaganda tools, using the election petitions at various Election Petition Tribunals across the country, as baits to gain support.”