NLC: Rescheduled elections to hold on Thursday



nlc election

According information reaching BrandPower from VON, the rescheduled elections of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is due to hold on Thursday  12th of March in Abuja.

The election was the only item remaining on the agenda of the 11th delegates’ conference of the  NLC held in February this year before  it was stalled over allegations of malpractice on the ballot paper.
General Secretary of the NLC, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, told VON that everything has been put in place to ensure a successful poll.
However, questions are already being raised about the long awaited elections, and if they would be held as planned.
Protesting workers from the South East and South-South  of Nigeria  have threatened to disrupt Thursday’s NLC poll  if the congress refuses to postpone the election.
They alleged that workers from those regions were deliberately excluded as delegates to the elections.
Comrade Osmond Ogwu, a member of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) who spoke on behalf of the protesters said the workers want delegates from the region to be included in the elections or the whole process be postponed.
The protesters carried placards  with inscriptions such as  NLC has lost its voice, No South-South delegates no election, where are tags of over two hundred south-east delegates.
Comrade Ogwu said the workers are ready to disrupt the election if the NLC insist on going on with it.
But addressing the protesters, NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson,  said nobody can stop the Congress from conducting the elections.
He said, “It is a sad day for Nigerian workers. We have never heard of zone this or zone that within the Nigeria Labour Congress . We have also acted in the interest of the nation. Those who have dragged the movement into this, I think history will correctly judge them. This is not the first election that the NLC will conduct. The constitution stipulates the process and procedures of going into election.”

The General Secretary also exonerated the NLC in the controversy over how delegates were selected. He said   “In calling this conference, every aspect of every article of the constitution was adhered to. Notices were sent to unions. What is required of the NLC by the constitution of the NLC is that when you want to call a conference, you will determine on the basis of the stipulation in the constitution the number of delegates that will be allotted to each industrial union. The time for this to be done is stipulated. And there were weeks and weeks before the conference. We followed up by asking the unions to submit a list of their delegates and they complied. On the basis of that, we went to conference.

“You know that that election was disrupted. We all know that there are interests in not making this election to happen. And it will be a sad day for a true Nigerian worker to allow extra congress consideration to determine when and how we hold our election. If any union brought sectional, tribal or regional consideration into the selection of its delegates then  that union is not worth its name. Having said that, we have also got complaints of money being lavishly spent and about unions of some contestants going about whipping up ethnic sentiments. If this is true, those people are also not worthy to bear the name of activists within this movement.
“But that cannot be used as an ambush to say we cannot hold election,” Ozo-Eson added.
The NLC has described the call for postponement as unnecessary, saying the election must go on as scheduled.
The congress also described as sad, the attempt to whip up ethnic sentiment in the election of the NLC, describing it as a shame for those whipping up such sentiments.
NLC Constitution
According to Dr Ozo-Eson, “The constitution specified the number of weeks to address  grievances. Anybody who slept on his right or his freedom, and refused to use that window provided constitutionally and then thinks they can ambush us through threats and all manner of things we know, we are saying the constituted authority in the absence of the conference is the NEC. When we ran into the hitches and the disruption of the election, we called a meeting of the NEC, and the NEC deliberated in its wisdom and adopted a position that we will go to reconvene that conference and conclude it by holding election tomorrow. And we will so do. Any union that doesn’t want to participate is free to boycott. But the movement cannot be held hostage. The issues that have been raised will be addressed within the structure of the NLC, but not as a way of ambushing or saying this election will not hold.”
Although past leaders of the NLC and some contestants have called for calm, workers will have to wait to see how all of these will play out, Whether there will be elections or not, its only a few hours away.
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