In the ongoing State and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, the Labour Party, LP, has become one of the largest losers.
According to Infostride News, several of the elected members of the party in Edo, Abia, and Enugu, among others, have been dismissed by tribunals sitting in different parts of the country due to inconsistencies in their party membership and their method of nomination.
In the 2023 midterm elections, the LP gained enough ground to become one of the main opposition political parties, winning seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate in a few states.
The LP’s historic showing in the midterm elections was particularly remarkable given the party’s rise from relative obscurity.
Many people thought this was a revolutionary movement that tapped into the hopes and dreams of Nigeria’s young people at a time when the country desperately needed one.
The Labour Party, which advocates for workers’ rights, has been around since long before 2023.
But in just eight months, it had broken through to the political center.
The party’s success in the general election was largely due to the enthusiasm of its young constituents, who were known as “Obidients” after their party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Despite winning 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, Obi was unable to secure the presidency.
He took everyone by surprise by defeating the two established parties in the country with a combined 6,101,533 votes, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
With 8,794,726 votes, APC’s Bola Tinubu defeated PDP’s Atiku Abubakar, who received 6,984,520 votes to place second.
However, Labour Party candidate Alex Otti was victorious in Abia State and became the state’s governor.
The Party was successful in capturing eight Senate seats and thirty-four House seats.
The political party led by Peter Obi gained enough votes to move up to third place in the National Assembly.
APC won 57 Senate seats, PDP 29 seats, LP 8 seats, SDP 2 seats, NNPP 2 seats, YPP 1, and APGA 1.
The APC won 162 seats in the House of Representatives, the PDP won 102, the LP won 34, the NNPP won 18, the APGA won 4, the ADC won 2, the SDP won 2, and the YPP won 1.
Some of the states which the Labour Party won included Enugu, Abia, Imo, Delta, Anambra, Plateau, and even Benue.
But this week, the LP has been on the receiving end as Election Petition Tribunals for the National Assembly in numerous states wrap up their work.
There were about 552 election petitions submitted by unsuccessful candidates, and while more than 150 cases have been decided, some petitions have been withdrawn.
On Saturday, September 16, 2023, all courts across the country will adjourn for the final time.
Hon. Engr. Chijioke Stanislaus Okereke, who was elected to represent the Awgu/Aninri/Oji River Federal Constituency, was one of three members of the House of Representatives whose elections were annulled by the tribunal in Enugu State.
Despite INEC’s declaration that Okereke had won the election, the Tribunal dismissed him and instead pronounced Chief Onwuegbu Anayo of the PDP to be the victor.
Paul Sunday Nnamchi, Hon. Prof., was elected to represent the federal constituency of Enugu East/Isi-Uzo.
Prince Cornelius Nnaji of the PDP was deemed the winner by the tribunal.
In Enugu, the election of Rt Hon Barr Sunday Cyriacus Umeha to represent the Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency was overturned by the Tribunal.
The court ruled against him because he did not formally resign from the PDP before choosing the LP ticket. Festus Uzor of the PDP was deemed the victor in this recount.
Ibe Okwara Osonwa, Emeka Nnamani, and Munachim Alozie, all of whom were elected to the House of Representatives in Abia State on the platform of the Labour Party, have been removed from the Umuahia tribunal.
Osonwa, the representative for the Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency, was removed from office by a tribunal panel chaired by Justice Adeyinka Aderebgbe for violating the Electoral Act 2022.
Chief Daniel Okeke, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, filed the petition.
The election in Lagos State that would have saw Thaddeus Attah represent the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency was deemed inconclusive by the Tribunal.
During the Congressional election on February 25th, Attah, Babajide Obanikoro of the All Progressives Congress, and Bankole Wellington, better known as Banky W, of the People’s Democratic Party all ran for the Eti-Osa seat.
But in Plateau State, the LP scored a victory when the Tribunal announced that Hon. Dandereng Gideon had won the election for the Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s Bagos was fired by the Jos-based Tribunal.
Two petitions challenging the election of two LP candidates were deemed to be without merit on Thursday, and the Tribunal sitting in Benin City, Edo State, agreed.
The Labour Party, however, has voiced concern over the manner in which its members have been dismissed by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in a number of states.
National Chairman Barr. Julius Abure made a statement on behalf of the party in response to the trend, stating that “membership is an internal affair of the party beyond the jurisdiction of courts.”
Dr. Aliyu Danko, national publicity secretary for the Labour Party, addressed the media on the topic, promising to take all legal action necessary to prove that the party’s representatives in the House of Representatives were duly elected.
He claimed, “We have witnessed the tendency, and interestingly before the Presidential Election Petition Court, we submitted issues.
We think it outrageous and unacceptable that the same concerns that were dealt with before the election are now being utilized to get rid of some of our representatives in the House of Representatives.
“At this time, the majority of our members are turning to appealing this decision, which we regard to be incorrect and inappropriate.
Intriguingly, we have evidence that primaries were held and our candidates were elected despite the allegations leveled against several of our representatives.
To paraphrase, “But then, if there are orchestrated plans to reduce the number of our members at the National Assembly, it won’t work because we’ll challenge it with proven documents that we won our elections.”
When asked if there is concern within the party that it is being undermined, he said, “absolutely. That’s what I was referring to.