The internal crisis rocking the Labour Party resurrected on Thursday with its National Legal Adviser, Akingbade Oyelekan, dismissing the dissolution of the party’s executive council in Rivers State.
According to him, the decision was faulty and would not stand.
The PUNCH reported that the spokesperson for the LP Presidential Campaign Council, Kenneth Okonkwo, had in a statement, dissolved the executive council of the Rivers State chapter of the party over alleged anti-party activities and corruption.
But Oyelekan told journalists in Abuja that Okonkwo was not a member of the party’s National Working Committee and does not have the powers to dissolve the party executives.
He said the process for announcing the dissolution of the River State executive was not in tandem with the constitution of LP.
Oyelekan also explained that Okonkwo was not the right person to issue such a statement, adding that only the National Secretary of the National Working Committee or National Publicity Secretary were constitutionally allowed to make such an announcement.
He said, “I want to make this clarification because it’s expedient and very important that we need this clarification so that we don’t continue to fall into error.
“We discovered and read in some news platforms that the Rivers State executive was dissolved by my friend, Kenneth Okonkwo and I felt that was out of place. Why? There are constitutional procedures for taking such action.
“Our party’s constitution has laid-down procedures to dissolve executives or a member of the party executive that erred.
“The process encompasses, first setting up a disciplinary committee that will listen to the issue viz-a-viz the allegations and the response from such a person or the group of persons. Now, the disciplinary committee will recommend to the NWC the appropriate measure or punishment to be taken or a punitive measure to be imposed on such a person or executives.
“But, this time around there was nothing like that and with due respect, Kenneth Okonkwo is not a member of the NWC of the party. He is not an executive with any of the structures of the party: State, Local Government, or even national and so he can not speak for the NWC.
“The person that is charged with that responsibility of doing that is the National Publicity Secretary or the National Secretary himself. In the absence of the National Publicity Secretary, the National Secretary will give the message to the public. But this time around, it was Kenneth Okonkwo who is not known as an executive of the party, and as such he cannot give information on behalf of the Labour Party.
“Now, I also want to quickly draw an inference here that there is a difference between the Labour Party and the Presidential Campaign Council. They are two different organisations.
“Though the PCC exists under the Labour Party, the Spokesman for the PCC cannot speak for the Labour Party NEC. The Labour Party has its own structure. The structure speaks for itself and that is why whatever borders on the activities of the party are given out by the Publicity Secretary or the National Secretary of the party who is empowered by law to do that.”
He, however, warned Okonkwo not to meddle with the internal affairs of the Labour Party, maintaining that the Rivers State executive still constitutionally stand until the right processes were followed.
The National Vice President of LP (South-South), Prince Favour Reuben, said, “Whatever that has happened in the Labour Party in River State in the name of dissolving the executives is considered as null and void.
“The decision is from PCC and not from NWC. Okonkwo knows that what he did was wrong and cannot stand in front of the law. The River State executives still remain intact.”