The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure, and a spokesman for the party campaign council, Kenneth Okonkwo, are accused of making “deprecating remarks” against the justices of the Supreme Court. The ruling All Progressives Congress has written the Nigerian Bar Association’s disciplinary committee about these claims.
The ruling party said that it believed Abure and Okonkwo’s obligations as legal practitioners had been violated by their incitement of criticism against the judges and the judiciary in the petition, which was signed by Senator Ajibola Basiru, the party’s national secretary.
In an exclusive phone conversation, Ajibola said that they could not stand by and watch as the judiciary in Nigeria is tarnished by those who should know better because they are stakeholders in the country’s democracy.
It is true that the APC is bringing a petition against Abure and Kenneth of Okonkwo before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, he stated. We view the two’s disparaging remarks regarding Supreme Court justices and the judiciary as a violation of their professional obligations as attorneys.Instead of their party going on needless, characteristic rants, they ought to defend themselves appropriately.
In response, the Labour Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, stressed in a statement released on Sunday night that the petition validated Abure’s previous caution that President Bola Tinubu and the APC intended to target their leaders, including their presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Ifoh claimed that the alleged persecution they believed began when they reported the two to the NBA’s Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
“Nigerians will recall from our press statement on Thursday that, following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the presidential election, we warned the country that certain prominent members of the Labour Party have been singled out for defamation and persecution through the use of security agencies and other institutions,” the speaker said.
Less than three days after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the party sees the APC’s action as validation of our suspicions and information about a campaign of incarceration, harassment, intimidation, and persecution directed against the Labour Party and its sizable national and international support base. We maintain unwaveringly and fearlessly that every court decision, particularly those pertaining to political issues, is open to challenge and administrative review. The people of Nigeria provide power and authority to all authorities, including the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution. As a result, public opinion and supervision affect all forms of authority in Nigeria.
“Once more, we firmly declare that none of those remarks were made in the course of their personal or professional roles as attorneys; rather, they were made during public and press interactions pertaining to their political positions and duties. Delivered in their roles as the spokesperson for the Obi Datti Presidential Council and the National Chairman of the Labour Party, these were strictly political remarks. It is likely that the APC leadership has sufficient awareness that remarks made after a ruling is rendered are no longer under consideration.
“A number of other Nigerians have also freely shared their thoughts on the process and verdict of the Supreme Court judgment, including prominent legal figures like a departing Justice of the Supreme Court. Our worries of persecution have therefore started to materialize as a result of the APC isolating our leaders for demonization through inflated and incorrect assumptions.
The spokesman went on to warn that the administration could destroy a democracy that is still recovering from the extraordinary series of events that followed the election season if it is successful in its purportedly dictatorial path of harassing and denigrating opposition political parties and supporters.
“We demand that all Nigerian democratic fronts and good-hearted individuals rise up against this vile and regrettable development and work together to defend public opinion and uphold human rights in Nigeria as guaranteed by the Constitution and international treaties, before they are completely undermined.
“Lastly, we make a plea to the NBA to resist being drawn into the APC’s shady political practices, which have allowed it to blatantly undermine important institutions,” he said.