The Presidential Election Petition Court, today (Wednesday), adjourned till Friday, May 19, the pre-hearing of the petition by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, against the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Meanwhile, factions of Obi’s party clashed in court, just as a factional Chairman, Mr. Lamidi Apapa, was taken into protective custody by security operatives attached to the Court of Appeal in Abuja, venue of the Presidential Election Petition Court.
Apapa was mobbed by youths that were at the court to witness proceedings in the petition that Mr. Obi filed to challenge the outcome of the presidential election held on February 25.
Shortly after the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel adjourned the petition till Friday for continuation of the pre-hearing session, Apapa, while stepping out of the courtroom, made attempt to address the media.
He positioned himself before the waiting cameras, after Peter Obi’s lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), finished speaking to newsmen on what transpired during the court session.
Just as Apapa was getting set for questions, a group of youths that identified themselves as “Obidients”, pushed him away from the cameras, insisting that he lacked the right to speak for the party.
In the commotion that ensued, with Apapa being pushed back and forth by the aggrieved youths, his ‘Agbada’ was torn even as someone snatched his cap from his head.
It took the intervention of armed security operatives to pull the factional LP, who appeared helpless, away from the mob.
He was subsequently taken into protective custody by policemen attached to the court.
As at 12:29pm when this report was filed in, Apapa was still with the security operatives.
Earlier, a mild drama played out at the court after Apapa attempted to announce himself as a representative of the party.
He had, immediately the main door to the court room was opened, made his way to the line of chairs reserved for dignitaries and the petitioners.
Obi was already seated by the time Apapa attempted to take possession of one of the seats but was blocked by members of the party led by a man that was identified as the LP’s National Youth Leader.
When the factional LP Chairman noted that despite his spirited effort he would not be allowed to sit close to Obi, he relocated to the line of chairs reserved for members of the public.
It will be recalled that Apapa is currently entangled in a legal dispute with executives of the party that conducted the primary election which produced Obi as flag-bearer.
He had earlier directed all the lawyers representing Obi to report to him for briefing.