Home » APC Accused of Targeting Labour Party Leaders After Election Loss

APC Accused of Targeting Labour Party Leaders After Election Loss

The opposition party says it is not alone in questioning the validity and credibility of the 2023 presidential election

by Motoni Olodun

The Labour Party (LP) has raised the alarm over the alleged persecution of its leaders by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) following the 2023 presidential election. The LP said the APC had submitted a petition to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, a unit under the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), seeking disciplinary action against Julius Abure and Kenneth Okonkwo, the National Chairman and Presidential Campaign Spokesperson of the LP, respectively.

The petition, signed by the APC’s National Secretary, Senator Ajibola Basiru, claimed that Abure and Okonkwo had made negative and unacceptable comments regarding the Supreme Court judgment that upheld the election of President Bola Tinubu. The LP leaders had criticized the verdict, saying it was a travesty of justice and a threat to democracy.

The LP, in a press statement signed by Obiora Ifoh, the National Publicity Secretary, said the petition was a confirmation of its earlier fears that some of its key leaders were earmarked for vilification and persecution in the aftermath of the election. The party said it had alerted the nation on October 26, 2023, that the APC was planning to use security agencies and other institutions of the state to harass, intimidate and suppress its members and supporters.

The LP also said that it was not alone in expressing its concerns over the Supreme Court judgment, as many Nigerians, including legal experts, civil society groups, and international observers, had also questioned the validity and credibility of the election. The party cited a report by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), which stated that there were serious irregularities and violence during the election and that the electoral commission failed to ensure transparency and accountability in the transmission and collation of results.

The LP stressed that in a democracy, all court judgments, especially those related to political matters, are subject to criticism and administrative review. The party said that all authorities in Nigeria, including the constitution, derive their strength and authority from the people and are, therefore, subject to public opinion and oversight. The party added that the comments made by its leaders were political statements delivered in their capacities as party officials and not in their personal or professional capacities as legal practitioners.

The LP called on all democratic forces and people of goodwill in Nigeria to unite and defend public opinion and human rights as guaranteed by the constitution and international statutes, which it said were under threat. The party also urged the NBA not to allow itself to be used by the APC to undermine key institutions and compromise the independence of the legal profession.

The LP is one of the main opposition parties in Nigeria, led by Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State. Obi contested in the 2023 presidential election under the LP banner after leaving the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2022. He came third in the election with 25 percent of the vote, behind Tinubu, who won 37 percent, and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who got 29 percent.

Despite losing the election, Obi has remained vocal and active in Nigerian politics, championing various causes such as electoral reforms, anti-corruption, youth empowerment, and national development. He has also been praised for his prudent management of public funds and his philanthropic activities.

Source: Business Day NG

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