By Obaje Abdulrahman
The Labour Party has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the purported convention held by its former National Chairman, A. A. Salam.
The petition dated June 24, 2019, which was signed by all the state chairmen of the party and made available to DAILY ASSET, stated that the so-called convention held by the erstwhile chairman is illegal as the convention was held with “non-party members and miscreants.”
The petition further stated: “We write to protest against the illegal convention of the Labour Party by A.A. Salam.
“Sir, you will recall that A. A. Salaam was removed from office on grounds of gross financial misconduct.
“Recently he gathered miscreants and non-party members in a village in Nasarawa State where he claimed to have held the party’s long awaited convention which the courts had ruled must be expansive and all-inclusive.
“Mr. Chairman, you will recall that your Commission has demonstrated commitment to ensuring that the Consent Judgement issued by the Federal High Court Abuja, is strictly adhered to, but the illegal and unilateral action by A. A. Salam in the name of a party convention appears to be aimed at thwarting the good intentions and efforts of your Commission.
“The Federal High Court Abuja had ruled that an expansive and inclusive National Convention of the party be jointly convened, where all the relevant members and stake holders of the party will participate to democratically elect new leaders for the party.
The petition also claimed that A. A. Salam carried out the convention without the National Working Committee and the party national leaders contrary to the constitution of the party.
It stated further that, “To underscore the illegality of the so-called convention, members of the National Executive Council (NEC) were not informed of the so-called Salam’s Convention contrary to Rule 13 Section B (I – xviii) of the party’s constitution, which deals with the powers and functions of the national executive council, and vests the responsibility of authorizing and convening on the NEC. In this case, the NEC never met to take such a decision, neither was any of us contacted. Even the statutory NEC members of the party as contained in Rule 13 section 2 A (xi and xxii), which are the Presidents and the General Secretaries of TUC AND NLC as well as the Chairperson of NLC Women Commission, were not invited or notified. In a nut-shell, the National Executive Council Members of the Party were not part of that illegal gathering.”, it continued.
The petition therefore prayed that the INEC disregard the so-called convention and regard it as a nullity.
On his part, The National Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Waba said that A. A. Salam and his group are out to hijack the Labour Party and that the party was not for acquisition.
Comrade Ayuba said “The party is not for acquisition, it cannot be acquired. It is not something that can be acquired and certainly they cannot also acquire Nigeria.
“So I think what they have done is illegality and we are challenging it in court and also through our normal way of engagement and that is why I think the leadership (of the labour party) have come here including the members of the National Working Committee to say that they are not part of what has transpired and they want a process that would actually take back the ownership of the party.
“And we are also warning. Anybody that does business with Salam and co, including buying of forms cannot receive the support of labour and of any of the social groups I have mentioned above.
Since 2017 the Labour Party under the leadership of A. A. Salam has been undergoing myriads of problems that eventually led to his removal from office on grounds of gross financial misconduct.
The national leaders of the party therefore converged on Abuja in frantic effort to salvage the party.
The National Deputy Chairman of Labour Party, Comrade Ladi Ilya said “What we are trying to do today, you know right from 2017 the party has been in problem of leadership and A. A. Salam was the chairman.
“Before he became the chair, he was the secretary of the party for eight years and having served he now requested that he want to be the chair, that he wants to stay just for one tenure and he was allowed to stay based on the understanding of the members of the party and unfortunately, we found out that instead of the party to progress, it was declining and so the executive members decided to say look, people are complaining.