UPDATED: Appeal Court vacates order sacking Julius Abure as LP Chairman

LP National Chairman Julius Abure

Appeal court on Wednesday set aside the judgment of an FCT High Court which restrained Julius Abure and two others from parading themselves as national officers of the Labour Party (LP).

Ruling on an ex parte application on April 5, 2023, Justice Hamza Muazu, had restrained Abure, Farouk Ibrahim, Clement Ojukwu, and Oluchi Opara from acting as national officers of the LP.

Also, Muazu on May 12, 2023 dismissed the preliminary objection raised by Abure challenging his removal as chairman of the LP.

The suit was filed by Martins Esikpali John, Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, John Elomah, and Abayomi Arabambi accusing Abure and others of forging several documents of the FCT high court to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last elections.

The defendants through their lawyer, Alex Ejesieme, SAN contended that an allegation of forgery against his clients cannot be brought before the court by way of an originating summon.

Ejesieme alleged that the plaintiffs are not members of the LP and therefore, lack the locus standi to institute the suit.

He added that the matter borders on the internal issues of the party which the court cannot interfere in.

Justice Muazu held that the court has the jurisdiction to hear the matter despite being an internal affair of the party.

He added that there would have been no need to interfere, had the party been at peace.

The defendants,however, approached the appeal court for redress.

Delivering the lead judgment on Wednesday, Justice Hamma Barka held that the high court was wrong to have assumed jurisdiction on the matter.

He also held that the lower court was wrong to interfere in the internal affairs of the political party.

The whole issue is premised on pre-election matters. The case of leadership tussle do not come under the jurisdiction of the court. It is an internal affair of the party. The case before the lower court is not justiciable. ”

Barka added that ward executives lacked the power to discipline or remove national executive members elected during a party’s convention.

He said:”ward executives do not have the powers to remove national executives duly elected at a party’s convention. ”

Barka also said the allegations of forgery, perjury and conspiracy were unproven.

He also faulted the lower court for allowing the matter to be brought through an originating summon.

Barka, however, awarded N1m in favour of the appellants.

He said, “In conclusion, the lower court was wrong to assume jurisdiction on the matter and striking out the preliminary objection raised by the appellants.

” The appeal is allowed and an order to set aside the judgement of the lower court is hereby made. N1m is awarded as cost against the respondents” he held. (NAN)