QuickRead: Labour Party’s crisis deepens. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

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The duo of the embattled Labour Party national chairman, Julius Abure, and the party’s factional leader, Lamidi Apapa, last week pushed the party into more crises after they laid claim to the chairmanship seat.

This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.

1. Labour Party’s crisis deepens

On August 25, both Abure and Apapa insisted that they were the authentic chairman of the Labour Party. This was after the Court of Appeal, Owerri, had affirmed the latter as the party’s authentic chairman.

At a media briefing the same day, Apapa lamented that Abure defied the court order and conducted governorship primaries in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa States ahead of the November 11 elections in the three states.
But in a swift reaction, the LP National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, said in a statement the court did not rule in favour of Apapa’s faction.

He said: “The attention-seeking camp of Lamidi Apapa had earlier today as usual misinformed the public by twisting the clear judgment of the appellate court.
“It is therefore important to state that neither the Federal High Court Owerri nor the Court of Appeal Owerri, which sat in Abuja today made any orders in the matter other than for lack of locus standi against the plaintiff (Basil Maduka).”

Why it matters

The unending leadership crisis in the Labour Party has cast doubt on the party’s long-term prospects. It is also a sign that the LP leaders have failed to check the influence of various forces that are constantly in a struggle to seize the instrument of control and dictate who gets what in the system.
The in-fighting is indicative of a deeper problem in a party that punched above its weight in the last general election and is expected to consolidate on the gains in future elections.

2. Diezani’s UK bribery charges
How Nigerian bank director helped Diezani transfer ‎money to the UK— EFCC

The British national crime agency on August 22 charged the former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, for bribery-related offences. The agency alleged in a court document that the ex-minister accepted bribes in excess of £100,000 in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts during her tenure as a minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, Andy Kelly, who confirmed the development in a statement, said: “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts.
“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries.”

Why it matters

The recent development surrounding the ex-minister whom the Nigerian government had tried unsuccessfully to bring in to face trial for alleged corruption in the last eight years reinforces the need for the country to strengthen its criminal justice system to achieve the desired results.

The British handling of recent cases involving Nigerians provides the opportunity for the country to once again look at its institutions, especially the judiciary which appears occasionally compromised.

Diezani’s impending day in court is a reminder that though the wheels of justice may grind slowly, the long arms of the law would always catch up with deviants.

3. IPOB accuses Supreme Court of subverting justice
IPOB names Uzodinma, Okorocha, Ihedioha, others as being behind Imo insecurity

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on August 22 accused the Supreme Court of subverting the cause of justice in the case of its incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

In a statement issued by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group decried the apex court’s decision to fix a new date for the hearing of the case challenging the Appeal Court’s cancellation of its leader’s release from detention.

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The statement read: “The Supreme Court decision was the worst form of travesty of justice and the height of the destruction of the rule of law.
“It was also our understanding that the September 14, 2023 adjournment was not granted as a matter of course.
“Was it not in an open court that the Justices of the Supreme Court that sat on the Appeal on May 11, 2023, adjourned the matter to September 14, 2023?”

Why it matters

Without a doubt, the restoration of peace in the South-East rests on the Nigerian government’s handling of Kanu’s case.
The Tinubu administration’s silence on the activist’s continued detention and IPOB’s agitation for the Biafra Republic does not bode well for the region that has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons in the last two years.

The recent concerns about Kanu’s safety and the Supreme Court’s handling of his case reinforce the call for the current administration to quickly resolve the impasse around his incarceration and the group’s agitation to stop the zone from convulsing further.

4. Obi quashes rumours of alliance with Atiku, Kwankwaso

The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on August 22 quashed rumours of a planned coalition with the duo of Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso ahead of the 2027 general election.

Obi, who addressed LP supporters at a mega rally in Edo State, urged them to disregard the claim.

He said: “Labour Party will continue to grow. We will continue to get stronger (and) better. Half of the things you are hearing everywhere are rumours, don’t listen to them.
“We are committed to building a better and a new Nigeria where we will move Nigeria from consumption to production.”

Why it matters

The mention of Obi in the same breath as Atiku and Abubakar points to its growing influence in the Nigerian political space.
However, the planned coalition, another attempt by the opposition elements to forge a common front against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would only succeed if those behind the move are able to rein in their ego and put aside their differences to achieve a set goal.
Anything short of this, the planned granite alliance may be another “white elephant project” that is destined to fail.

5. Wike defends ministerial appointment

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, said on August 21 he was given the go-ahead by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders to accept President Bola Tinubu’s offer.

The ex-Rivers State governor, who addressed journalists in his maiden press conference as FCT minister, said wrote the PDP acting national chairman, Iliya Damagum, and other party leaders on the ministerial offer and secured their approval to be part of the present government.

He said: “The PDP leaders said they will sanction me that I took an appointment, I think that’s ridiculous.
“The president wrote to all the 36 state governors to bring names of people to appoint. Didn’t PDP governors submit names?”

Why it matters

The minister’s involvement in the All Progressives Congress (APC) government and his rumoured switch to the party he once derided show that politics is an interest-driven game, casting light on how old relationships can quickly be jettisoned in the pursuit of political goals.

By Hamed Shobiye

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