The Labour Party (LP) has faced significant losses in the ongoing State and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal. Various tribunals across the nation have invalidated the elections of several LP members in states such as Edo, Abia, Enugu, and others. These decisions revolve around concerns regarding their party membership and nomination processes.
During the 2023 general elections, the LP, rising as a major opposition party, secured House of Representatives and Senatorial seats in multiple states. This achievement was particularly remarkable as the party had transitioned from relative obscurity to widespread recognition in just eight months.
The LP’s success was attributed in part to the popularity of its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, among the youth demographic, known as the ‘Obidients.’ Although Obi did not win the presidential election, he garnered an impressive 6,101,533 votes across 12 states, including Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The party’s electoral gains included one governorship seat in Abia State, eight senatorial seats, and 34 seats in the House of Representatives. With these numbers, the LP became the third-largest party in the National Assembly, behind the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The LP’s victories were concentrated in states like Enugu, Abia, Imo, Delta, Anambra, Plateau, and Benue. However, as the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals conclude their proceedings, the LP has faced setbacks.
Out of 552 election petitions filed by dissatisfied candidates, over 150 cases have been resolved, with some being withdrawn. These tribunals are set to conclude their sessions on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
In Enugu State, the tribunal nullified the elections of three House of Representatives members, declaring candidates from the PDP as winners. Similar situations occurred in Abia State, where three LP representatives were sacked due to non-compliance with the Electoral Act. In Lagos State, the election for the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency was declared inconclusive, leading to uncertainty.
Despite these setbacks, the LP remains determined to defend its members’ electoral victories. The party’s National Chairman, Barr. Julius Abure, emphasized that membership disputes are internal matters beyond the jurisdiction of courts. Dr. Aliyu Danko, the Labour Party’s National Publicity Secretary, declared the party’s commitment to challenging the rulings and providing evidence of its candidates’ legitimate election victories.
There is a growing sentiment among party members that these developments may be part of a plot to weaken the Labour Party, a concern that party officials find deeply troubling.