•We’re not aware of its existence, says party spokesman

There is no letup in the crisis rocking the Labour Party (LP) as its National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, has said the party has no functional Board of Trustees (BoT) as claimed in a report in the media.

He was reacting to a statement issued by the BoT Chairman, Sylvester Ejiofor declaring that it had taken over the affairs of the party following the re-election of Julius Abure as national chairman at a national convention held in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Ejiofor, in a statement issued on behalf of the BoT on Wednesday night, had dismissed the convention as a “charade” and said Abure’s re-election was null and void.

The statement read: “Following the expiration of the tenure in office of the immediate past National Working Committee of the Labour Party headed by Mr. Julius Abure, the Board of Trustees of the Labour Party, in line with the Labour Party Constitution, has stepped in to steer the affairs of the Labour Party.

“This step is to avoid any leadership vacuum in the Labour Party.

“Furthermore, the Board of Trustees of the Labour Party, in consultation with major stakeholders in the Party, will soon communicate the processes for the conduct of an all-inclusive and expansive National Convention of the Labour Party.

“This is in line with the March 20, 2018, Federal High Court consent judgement delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, which recognised the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as the owner of the Labour Party and mandated that an all-inclusive and expansive National Convention of the Labour Party be held.

“The decision of the Board of Trustees is also in furtherance of the agreement signed between the former National Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr. Julius Abure, and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on 27th June 2022, which was mediated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“While we commend members of the Labour Party, especially workers, students, youths, market women and men, Obidients, and candidates on the platform of the Labour Party for their contributions and fidelity to the ideals of the party, the Board of Trustees promises to quickly set in motion processes for the conduct of an all-inclusive and expansive National Convention.

“Unlike the charade that took place today in Nnewi and in tandem with the principles of popular democracy, the all-inclusive National Convention will start with grassroots congresses at ward, local government, state and ultimately at the national level.

“This process will not leave any genuine member of the Labour Party out and will be held in the full view of the Independent National Electoral Commission, media, civil society, security agents and the general public.

“We commend the leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi and key stakeholders in the Labour Party for declining to deodorise the malfeasance that took place in Nnewi with their presence.

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“The BOT assures all stakeholders that we are committed to reclaiming and repositioning the Labour Party as the vehicle for the socio-political emancipation of our dear country, her working people and populace.”

But in a statement, yesterday, Ifoh said  the party was not aware of the existence of any BoT as claimed by Ejiofor.

Ifoh noted that since Ejiofor stepped down as the first national chairman of the party over two decades ago, he has not attended any meeting or played any significant role as a member of the party.

The statement read in part: “Ever since Ejiofor stepped down as the first national chairman of the Labour Party over two decades ago, he has neither attended any meeting or played any noticeable role as a member of the party.

“He is not even known in his ward and has not paid a single dime as membership dues which qualifies him as a member. It is surprising that after he was ‘visited’ by some leaders of NLC, he suddenly woke up from his slumber.

“The point here is that the Labour Party is not aware of the existence of any Board of Trustees. Recall that NLC has continued to propose for the reconstitution of the BoT as well as the convocation of the national convention.

“Over 90 per cent of persons being suggested to form membership of the proposed BoT have since left the party to join other political parties, some even contested various political positions on the platform of other political parties while some others featured prominently in the presidential campaigns of the other political parties even when Labour Party equally featured a candidate in the 2023 general election.

“This is what desperation in the ranks of the NLC can cause. Why not let the man enjoy his retirement? Why drag him into your mess? Let Ejiofor show evidence of one meeting he convened in the last one decade of his so-called BoT.

“Enough of all these political muscles flexing, Julius Abure has just been elected by the convention for the first time as the national chairman of the Labour Party.

We urge our detractors to please sheathe the sword and join us to salvage the nation.” The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had also disowned the convention held in Nnewi, Anambra.

Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, said the conduct of the convention was not monitored by INEC, declining to state further why it was not monitored.

The LP had on Tuesday shifted the convention from Umuahia to Nnewi.

Speaking on the change in venue, Mr Kehinde Edun, the LP National Legal Adviser, told newsmen that the party had duly informed INEC about the change in venue and date.