Signs that the just concluded 11th Delegates’ conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC did not go down well with some affiliate unions began to emerge less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the rescheduled conference.
A factional crisis seems to have rocked the Congress as 23 unions of the NLC led by three union leaders, Joe Ajaero of the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees , the President Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Igwe Achesse and Isah Aremu, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria called a press conference on Saturday to declare the election inconclusive.
The union leaders said that the results were declared even when they were not signed by the contestants in line with NLC’s constitution.
The Ajaero group have scheduled a Special Delegates Conference of the NLC for Friday and Saturday next week in Lagos, South west Nigeria as a fall out of the rescheduled 11 delegates conference elections.
The group also announced Peter Balogun of the Civil Service Secretary and Stenographic Workers as the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the conference.
Prior to the announcement of the election results early hours of Saturday, some top union leaders loyal to Joe Ajaero had stormed out of the venue of the election in protest.
Before the announcement of the results, Ajaero and other union leaders in his camp said that the process was not free and fair and was marred by a rigging through manipulation of the delegate lists and other irregularities.
They accused the immediate past President of the NLC, Abdulwahed Omar, the Chairman of the NLC Credentials’ Committee, Isah Fegge, and the returning officer of the elections Aliyu Dangiwa of supervising what the called … “the sustenance of the process that was said to have brought the congress into disrepute”.
“… the result of an election whose sorting of votes was done by Omar was unacceptable as it could not be said to be transparent”, Ajaero said.
On his part, Issa Aremu also said that “If the NLC could not conduct transparent free and fair election, it had no moral right whatsoever to comment on federal elections”.
Call for support
In his inaugural speech, the new President, Ayuba Wabba appealed to all the union leaders for their support and cooperation.
He said that the NLC needed the cooperation of all its affiliate unions to speak out on issues affecting the country.
The election polarized members of the unions along two main camps , the Redemption Group led by the former President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria now NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba and Restoration group led by Mr. Joe Ajaero, general Secretary, Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees.
The elections were preceded by allegations of manipulation of the delegates list in support of a particular candidate.
Some workers led by a member of the Nigerian Civil Service Union, Mr. Osmond Ugwu on Wednesday, had alleged that workers from the South South and South East and South west were disenfranchised.
Ugwu had said during the protest that the Nigeria Civil Service Union allotted only six votes to the three geopolitical zones in the South out of 131 delegates of the union.
He said that the rest 125 were given to states in the North.
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