•Petitions EFCC, INEC
From Magnus Eze and Samuel Bello, Abuja
Crisis erupted in the Labour Party (LP) when members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), after an emergency meeting in Abuja, yesterday, announced the sack of the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam.
This was just as about 50 protesters, comprising some members of the NEC and secretariat staff of the party marched to the headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and action on the petitions they had earlier submitted to the two bodies.
National Youth Leader of the party, Mr. Andrew Ukpebitere, told newsmen at the entrance to the EFCC premises that the protest became necessary following non-payment of staff salaries for two years salaries.
NEC also suspended and removed from office Mr. Calistus Okafor, (deputy national chairman-South) and Mr. Julius Abure (acting national secretary), pending the outcome of investigation into the allegations against them.
Among other infractions, they accused Abdulsalam of mismanagement, impunity, dictatorship and unilateral dissolution of States Executive Committees (SECs) of the party and suspension and/or expulsion of prominent members and leaders of the party by, “supported by his willing lackeys in as cheerleaders.”
According to the NEC resolution made available to newsmen, they alleged that, “in reckless violation of the EFCC Act and other anti-corruption laws of our nation, Abdulsalam brazenly misappropriated and diverted our party’s funds (running into hundreds of millions of naira) into an Ecobank account, with number 0122005427, of his private company, Salsan Nigeria limited.
“The NEC, therefore, appoints Mr. Bobo Atare Adou (national vice chairman-South South) and Mr. Akingbade Oyelekan as acting national chairman and Acting National Secretary of the party, respectively.
Alhaji Ali Abatcha, national deputy chairman (North), Gbenga Daramola, deputy national youth leader, (South West), deputy national women leader (North East), Lami Ahmed, Hosannah Samuel, deputy national woman leader, (South South), Mrs. Olajumoke Awodeyi, deputy national women leader, South West signed the Communique.
When contacted, Abdulsalam said “only a National Convention, called by the national chairman can either suspend or remove” him.
He dismised the protesters as “rented crowd,” and added that no staff of the national secretariat of the party participated in the protest.
But the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Ebere Ifendu said those who constituted the NEC were not known to the party and insisted that “LP remains intact,” adding that “some forces, seeking to engineer the defection of Senator Omo-Agege from the party” were behind the crisis.