The Labour Party (LP) has expressed deep concern over a series of judgments handed down by various National and State Assembly tribunals, which have removed some of their elected members from the legislative arm of government.
In a statement by its national chairman, Julius Abure, the party questioned the impartiality of the tribunal decisions.
During the last general election, the LP emerged as a formidable political force in Nigeria, winning dozens of seats in the National and state Houses of Assemblies nationwide.
However, many of the party’s lawmakers have been sacked by the tribunals in various states in the last 72 hours.
Part of the statement read:
We are worried because the reasons for reversing our victories are matters that have been settled by the superior courts in the past.
It is even incomprehensible and ludicrous when different tribunals give conflicting and diverse judgements on the same matter, a matter that has since been ruled by the Supreme Court and very recently at the Presidential Election Petition Court in APC v Peter Obi.
The courts have in a plethora of cases held that the court has no jurisdiction to intervene in the internal affairs of a political party.
The issue of nomination of candidates as well as membership are internal affairs of the party beyond the jurisdiction of courts. It is only a political party that can determine who its members are and who their flag bearer for an election should be.
Abure said part of the rules and guidelines of the Labour Party is to accord membership to any Nigerian who so desires, including by way of a waiver.
”If you look at our guidelines, it is very clear that we can grant a waiver to people who are joining us during the election, and Labour Party in observance of its own relevant rules and guidelines discharged its obligations by granting a waiver to as many as requested for it.
”So, It is our inalienable right under our own rules, and we activated it to the fullest.
”The decisions of the tribunal against our elected lawmakers are clearly in contravention of established jurisprudence.
”Where the leadership of a party regards a person as a member of the party eligible to contest the primaries, no member of the party can complain against such a decision.
”It is therefore a mockery of our judicial system for lower court to upturn a judgement already delivered by the Supreme court. Though the tribunal is not the final court but we frown at the recklessness of our judicial officers in entering a judgement that looks suspicious.
”We are therefore calling the attention of the Nigeria Judicial Council to the injustice on going and to review the activities of some of our legal officers who may have been compromised and found wanting in the discharge of their duties,” he said.