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Labour Party Battles Nwanyanwu Over Certificate Handover

Although, former National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, had since left the party and joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the leadership of his former party believes he has questions to answer in court. Specifically, leaders of LP accused Chief Nwanyanwu of stealing the Certificate of Registration (CoR) of the party which he handed over to leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress last Thursday.

The leadership of LP maintained that last Thursday’s handing over of the CoR of the party to the NLC was contemptuous. The party’s lawyer, Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru (SAN), said in a letter to NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, that the receipt of the certificate was faulty as it had been reported missing by Nwanyanwu who handed it over even when he had resigned from the party before the 2015 General Elections to join the PDP.

The lawyer in the letter dated July 31 told Wabba that the party on November 19, 2014 had sued those parading themselves as the National Caretaker Committee of the party with the same Nwanyanwu being the 4th claimant in the suit pending before a Federal High Court, Abuja and which hearing has been adjourned till September 30, 2015 by the court. The lawyer wrote: “We are to inform you that before now the Labour Party had reported to the Police that their certificate of registration is missing because Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu, after leaving the party told the National Chairman of the party that the certificate of registration was missing.

Following political activities leading to the 2015 General Elections, Barrister Nwanyanwu, for reason very personal to him left the Labour Party and joined the Presidential campaign team of President Goodluck Jonathan. “The whole world by your press coverage on both electronic and print media on 30 July 2015 is now aware that the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba is now in custody of the certificate of registration of the Labour Party.

What Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu handed over to you yesterday (Thursday) as the certificate of registration of labour party is a stolen property because Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu is no longer a member of Labour Party.” Speaking on the matter, the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdul- Salam, lamented that Nwanyanwu who organised the National Convention that brought the present leadership of the party would be the one to try to destroy it. His words, “He resigned as the Chairman Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party to join the PDP presidential campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He told us that the certificate of registration was missing and we filed a report to the Police, how can he now hand over the missing certificate to a group whose activities we are challenging in court?” It would be recalled that Chief Nwanyanwu, returned the certificate of registration of the party to the labour movement on Thursday in Abuja. Nwanyanwu, while handing over the certificate through the Nigeria Labour Congress, said it was imperative for him to return the certificate, as he was no longer a member of the party.

He said, “I came here today to return the certificate of registration of the party to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress. It was given to me in 2004. Unfortunately, I am not returning it as the national chairman of the party or as a member of the party. I left the party because of irreconcilable differences, which came up soon after I handed over to certain persons. I thought I learnt something for 10 years.”

Nwanyanwu said it was time for Nigerian workers to be involved in politics and not just agitators. He said, “Workers must stand up, protect, build and reposition the party that belongs to them. The Labour Party belongs to Nigerian workers under the auspices of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress, among others. “So it is important for them to make it a vibrant party. It is time to get those that are qualified with knowledge to take up leadership positions in the party. Let us get those who are qualified and support them because we have a strong base to win any election in this country if we are united to build and re-position it.

I want the labour movement to send signals to its chapters on how to reposition the party because it is owned by workers and not the NLC.” The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the handing over of the certificate to Nigerian workers through the NLC was symbolic. Wabba said, “Labour party includes all affiliates of NLC, TUC, all progressives and people that believe that labour has what it takes to be able to offer leadership and also engage on key issues that would better their lives. The party represents the ideology of the working class, the downtrodden, social justice and fair play in terms of managing our resources.

This is taking into cognisance the yearnings and aspirations of larger Nigerians, which is the main driving force.” Wabba said the National Executive Council of the NLC and TUC had also tried to put in place a caretaker committee for the Labour Party in an attempt to rebuild the party. He maintained that Nigerian workers would put in their best to build and reposition the party.

Salisu Mohammad, the National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party, urged the NLC to fulfill its resolution to facilitate the registration of two million workers as members of the party. Mohammad said the resolution came from the resolution of the 11th National Convention of the NLC, adding that the implementation of the resolution would further breathe life into the party and make it truly a Labour party and a party of the working people. “With a workers base of two-million members, the Labour Party will indeed be the largest party in Africa,” he said.

Observers lament that LP, one of the opposition political parties that made some impact in the polity by winning a state governorship seat and maintaining presence in the National Assembly has been destabilized by internal wrangling and wave of defections especially months to the last general elections when some of its staunch members, including Chief Nwanyanwu and governor Olusegun Mimiko, of Ondo State left for the PDP. Without doubt, since Mimiko left the PDP in 2006 to lead the LP in Ondo State, his influence and relationship with the PDP and other political leaders in the state and the South- West remained a subject of intense controversy.

Formed in 2002, the LP, led by Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, was described by the founders as a “social democratic political party,” with “a centre-left ideology.” In April 21, 2007 National Assembly election, it won one, out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives and no seat in the Senate. The party’s governorship flag bearer in Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, also emerged the state governor after winning a prolonged legal contest. Since then, the party’s rating rose as some top players in the power game reportedly approached it either for alliances or simple support to facilitate electoral victories.

During the 2011 presidential election for example, the PDP candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, solicited LP’s support in his effort to gain votes in Ondo State and he got it. Since then, the party remained one of PDP’s pillars of support in an attempt to garner support and votes particularly in the South-West. With the recent recovery of its certificate of registration, it is believed that the process of stabilization and mobilization for a strong opposition role in the current administration will soon begin.

-If all things go the way of the current leadership of the Labour Party, its former National Chairman, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, should be in jail, reports Peterclaver Egbochue

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