During a hearing before the Presidential Election Tribunal on Wednesday, Lamidi Apapa, the factional chairman of the Labour Party, found himself at the center of an intensifying party fight. Apapa was publicly humiliated by party members who were loyal to the deposed chairman, Julius Abure, amid a climate of intense division and rising tensions. They blame Apapa with betraying his commitment to the party, which Apapa vehemently refutes.
When Apapa sought to take the seat designated for the party chairman, a move vehemently opposed by Abure’s followers, a fight broke out. This caused a small uproar in the courtroom, and as a result, the tribunal refused to accept Dudu Manuga, the national women’s leader standing in for the Abure side, or even Apapa’s presence.
Due to the current internal party fight, the tribunal made it clear that it would not record their participation, claiming that neither of the contending groups could speak for the party. The matter was then postponed to Friday, May 19.
Following the adjournment, Abure’s supporters vehemently contended that Apapa was not a legitimate representative of their party and so had no right to comment on its issues, preventing Apapa from addressing the media.
In a particularly embarrassing incident, an enraged crowd yelling “Ole,” a Yoruba word for robber, ripped Apapa’s customary bronze-colored cap from his head. Police officers intervened to calm down the tense situation and led an obviously scared Apapa back into the courthouse.
After the court scene, Abure’s supporters rejoiced over Apapa’s public humiliation. He is accused of harboring a dishonest loyalty to the party and working to undermine Abure’s authority.
His party colleagues are also experiencing difficulties because of Apapa. His disavowal by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was announced by Comrade Chris Uyot, Secretary of the NLC Political Commission, who referred to Apapa as a “meddlesome interloper.”
Prior to the incident, Apapa had demanded the detention of anyone who supported an interim administration in Nigeria, including the party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi. This controversial stance was taken in opposition to appeals by some Obi supporters who want to postpone Bola Tinubu’s inauguration as president of Nigeria until the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party’s electoral petitions challenging Tinubu’s victory have been resolved.
Apapa praised God for saving his life as he expressed his emotions about what had happened that day. Apapa asserted he had made more contributions to the party than anybody else, despite being humiliated and facing accusations of being paid off by opposing political parties to undermine the Labour Party from within. He also said he was prepared to reveal the truth regarding Peter Obi’s stoking of divisions.