NLC Election Crisis Deepens

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Ajaero

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Following the crisis which rocked the Nigeria Labour Congress election held on March 14, another group led by Joe Ajaero of the National Union of Electricity Employees elects the factional leader its president

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Mar. 30, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  | 

THE crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, took another dimension on Thursday, March 19, when a faction led by Joe Ajearo of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, held another conference in Lagos. The conference elected Ajaero as factional president of the group of 18 unions that opposed the outcome of the 11th Delegates Conference of the NLC which held on Saturday, March 14 and in which Ayuba Wabba of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria emerged president.

Ajaero and others who vied for positions and lost but were elected at the Lagos election included Issa Aremu, deputy president, Igwe Achese, second deputy president and Kasumu Kadiri, vice president.  The faction had earlier planned to hold the elections on March 21, but was asked to reconsider following some peace moves.

In his acceptance speech, Ajaero promised to turn around the NLC in the interest of workers and the generality of Nigerians, saying his emergence was a watershed in the history of congress. He promised to justify the confidence reposed on him by workers, claiming that more than 20 unions participated in the process that led to his emergence. The factional leader said the administration of Abdulwahed Omar, immediate past president of the NLC, had failed in all ramifications.

Reacting to the development, Wabba and Peter Ozo-Eson, general secretary, NLC, described the Lagos election as an exercise in nullity, insisting there was no faction in the congress. Wabba said his election was free and fair as attested to by labour veterans, stakeholders and even government’s regulatory agencies that were in attendance. “They (Ajaero group) know the conference was free, fair and credible. Why are they interested in causing confusion instead of working for the interests of the congress and Nigeria as a whole? The fact that Hassan Sunmonu (pioneer NLC president) in the presence of elders and national leaders of the NLC swore us in was even enough on the credibility of the process. We would not be deterred,” he said.

On his part, Ozo-Eson reiterated that elections had been concluded, warning the general public to take note and not deal with its former officers. Speaking on the faction, he said: “Which NLC? People are engaging in illegality and forgery; that is their choice. In any case, the NLC has concluded its delegates’ conference and leaders were elected.”

The aggrieved unions that were part of the Lagos polls are: National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, National Union of Petroleum and National Gas, NUPENG, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees, NUBIFIE, Metal Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, MEPROSSAN, National Union of Post and Telecommunication Employees, NUPTE and National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers, NUPPROW.

Others are National Union of Shop and Distributive Employees, NUSDE, Nigeria Union of Civil Service Secretariat Stenographic Workers, Nigeria Union of Mine Workers, NUMW, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, NUR, Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria, SEWUN, Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ISSAN, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and financial Institution, ASSBIFI, Nigeria Welders and Filters Association, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions, Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria and the Lottery Workers Union.

Realnews reported on Monday, March 16, that Ajaero and his group rejected the outcome the election saying it was manipulated by the electoral body in favour of Wabba and some candidates. He also alleged that some delegates from the south-south and south-east were disenfranchised to favour other ‘anointed’ candidates.

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