(PETER OBI vs BOLA TINUBU)
WIth a spontaneous shout of ole, ole (Yoruba word for thief), a mild drama between the two factions of Labour Party was sparked off at the resumed hearing of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting on Wednesday.
This happened just as the doors to the court room were opened for lawyers and others to access the courtroom.
The justices arrived to commence the day’s proceedings and also refused to acknowledge the representation of the party aside the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi, who’s present in court.
Apapa, who had earlier created a scene inside the court, was leaving when a crowd surrounded him.
The politician, who was being shielded by policemen, struggled to get to where his car was parked, but the crowd kept trailing him, recording the incident with their phone.
The incident became more dramatic when someone in the crowd removed Apapa’s cap and fled.
He had attempted to speak with a group of journalists after the proceedings but the continuous noise disrupted the process.
Apapa eventually walked away but he was overshadowed by the crowd.
Earlier, Apapa, who is locked in a battle with Julius Abure, suspended chairman of the party, had arrived the court for the case of a petition which Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the party, filed against the victory of President-elect Bola Tinubu.
He made attempted to sit where Labour Party officials were and a shouting match ensued.
“Who are you?” a party official had asked Apapa, who fired back saying, “You don’t know me? Look at the way you are talking, who are you too?”
As the argument continued, Apapa raised his voice, saying, “Get up, you can not sit down here!”
Secretary of the Presidential election court, Josephine Ekperobe, quickly moved in to ensue normalcy.
Later when the Labour Party matter was called, Obi and the party’s Women Leader, Dudu Manoga, introduced themselves on the record of the court.
But when Apapa stood up to introduce himself as the National Chairman, the presiding justice of the court, Justice Haruna Tsammani, requested him to stop the introduction as the court would not recognise the ‘National Chairman’ on record.
Abure, who sat next to Obi, did not, however, attempt to introduce himself.
Justice Haruna Tsamani noted that if two persons are making an appearance for the party, they will not be put on record. Apapa had attempted to occupy the seat reserved for the party’s national chairman, Julius Abure, but was resisted.
At the resumed hearing, counsel for Labour Party, Livy Uzoukwu informed the court that the scheduled meeting to agree on documents to be tendered for hearing hasn’t yielded much results as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has only made available 30% of the documents required from them.
He added that this is contrary to commitment by the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, that all documents required shall be made available.
He further added that the party is yet to get documents with respect to Rivers State where he said the Resident Electoral Commissioner said there are no forms EC8A available to be given but is yet to put that in writing despite request to do so.
Counsel for INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, however, said he is taken aback by the allegations of the counsel for the Labour party as they they did not show up for the meeting as agreed, and walked out of the rescheduled meeting.
Abubakar added that the documents for Rivers and Sokoto states, where indeed provided, but the Labour Party refused to pay the sum of 1.5million naira for Sokoto State, and the Form EC8A for Rivers State, have not been given to them.
He added that some documents were given to the party, but refused to collect it until it was complete.
He assured the court that they were doing everything possible to assist the court in an open manner. He added that they are ready to pay any amount of money for a document.
*Text, except headline, courtesy of Channels TV and Daily Trust