The Presidential Election Petition Court on Wednesday in Abuja refused to recognize the two factions laying claims to the national leadership of the Labour Party (LP).
In the presence of the presidential candidate of the party in the last general elections, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, two factions of the party engaged themselves for recognition and to be recorded as the official representatives of the party in the pre-hearing of Obi’s petition.
The battle for recognition was ignited by Mrs. Dudu Maluga, who sat by Obi’s right-hand side and introduced herself as the National Women Leader of the Labour Party and a representative of the party in the petition.
Drama erupted when another faction sitting opposite Obi murmured loudly and sought to be recognized as the authentic leaders of the party.
One of them, who introduced himself as Alhaji Bashiru Lamidi Apapa, got up and announced himself as the party’s acting national chairman.
Following the confusion that ensued, the Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, ruled against the two factions, saying that the court would not recognize or record their respective presence as representatives of the party.
The two factions were, however, allowed to remain in the courtroom without being recognized.
Obi, who was in the court to witness proceedings, kept mute while the drama lasted.
Similarly, the suspended National Chairman of the party, Mr. Julius Abure, who sat closest to Peter Obi, did not intervene throughout the drama.
Indications that the two factions would clash first emerged during the struggle to enter the courtroom, with both factions claiming and counter-claiming to be authentic leaders of the party.
It took the efforts of the security operatives in the court before security breaches could be averted.