A mild drama unfolded at the presidential election petition court on Wednesday as factional leaders clashed over seating arrangements, sparking a heated confrontation. Lamidi Apapa, the factional national chairman of the Labour Party (LP), encountered Akin Osuntokun, the director-general of Peter Obi’s presidential campaign council, upon Apapa’s arrival in the courtroom.
The altercation erupted as the courtroom doors opened for lawyers and litigants at approximately 8:05 am, signaling the start of the day’s proceedings. Osuntokun and other prominent party figures had already taken their seats in the plaintiffs’ gallery when Apapa and his colleagues approached them, demanding that they vacate their seats. Apapa claimed that, as the legitimate head of the Labour Party, he had the right to sit in the plaintiffs’ gallery.
However, Osuntokun refused to yield his seat, maintaining that Apapa had no authority to claim it. The tension escalated, and the courtroom atmosphere became increasingly charged. It was only through the intervention of Josephine Ekperobe, the secretary of the presidential election petition court, that the heightened tension was eventually defused.
The drama did not end there. As the case was called, Peter Obi announced his appearance on his behalf. However, when the national woman leader of the party, Dudu Manuga, also announced her appearance for the party, Apapa swiftly opposed her. This further fueled the already tense atmosphere in the courtroom. The five-member panel of justices, led by Haruna Tsammani, refused to record any representation for the Labour Party due to the ongoing disputes among the party leaders.
Notably, Julius Abure, the suspended national chairman of the Labour Party, was also present in court, adding another layer of complexity to the proceedings. The clash between factional leaders has certainly cast a spotlight on the internal conflicts within the party and the implications it may have on the presidential election petition case.
- Factional leaders of the Labour Party engage in a heated confrontation over seating arrangements at the presidential election petition court.
- Lamidi Apapa, factional national chairman, insists on taking a seat in the plaintiffs’ gallery, leading to a dispute with Akin Osuntokun, director-general of Peter Obi’s presidential campaign council.
- Tension rises in the courtroom, requiring the intervention of the court’s secretary to defuse the situation, while further disagreements arise during the case proceedings.