The factional National Chairman of the crisis-ridden Labour Party (LP) Basiru Lamidi Apapa has said the lack of respect for the rule of law by the Presidential candidate of the party in the February election, Mr Peter Obi was responsible for the leadership crisis rocking the party.
He said the leadership crisis would not have erupted if Obi had withdrawn recognition from the suspended National Chairman of the party, Mr Julius Abure based on the order of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
Apapa, however, asked Obi to wade into the dispute objectively with a view to amicably resolving the lingering crisis.
Apapa at a media briefing after his attack at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja on Wednesday, demanded that Obi be unbiased to get the disputed chairmanship tussle resolved.
At the media briefing attended by the Deputy National Chairman of the party in the North, Mike Ayuba Auta, National Publicity Secretary, Olufemi Abayomi Arabambi and one of the women leaders Mrs Rukayat Salihu Umar, Apapa said what happened at the Presidential tribunal in which fracas broke out in the presence of Peter Obi, was disgraceful and a test to Obi’s leadership quality.
Apapa said the leadership crisis would have been put behind the party if Obi had respected the order of the Federal Capital Territory High Court which ordered Julius Abure and three others from parading themselves as National Officers of the party over their indictment for forgery and perjury.
Tracing the genesis of the leadership crisis, Apapa said that immediately after the order of the court was served on the party, he was unanimously selected in an acting capacity as the National Chairman of the party.
Apapa claimed it was wrong for Obi to accord respect to Abure despite the order of the Court and as a presidential candidate seeking justice from the same court of law.
On allegations of receiving 500 million Naira from external forces to destabilize the party, Apapa vehemently denied such claims, saying he did not receive any money or was influenced by anybody or group to work against the party.
He also said that it was wrong of Peter Obi to have claimed not to know him, claiming they worked closely and even travelled on the same flights with Peter Obi throughout his Presidential electioneering campaign.
He appealed to Obi to be open-minded, neutral and objective to end the crisis.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Deputy National Chairman of the Party in the North, Mike Ayuba Auta denied the allegation that the All Progressive Congress (APC) was behind the crisis adding that the allegation was baseless and unfounded.
Auta apologized to Nigerians, who gave Labour Party over 6 million votes during the last presidential election, adding that they should not be discouraged by the current leadership crisis, assuring that the dispute will soon be resolved.