Again, Controversy Trails NLC Election
At exactly 12.47am, at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Wabba Ayuba, was proclaimed winner of the hotly contested election.
But in a swift reaction, Ayuba’s challenger, Joe Ajaero, in company of some of the candidates that lost out in the election, announced Friday, March 20, 2015 as date for a fresh ‘special delegates’ conference in Lagos, where perceived ‘wrongs’ in the Abuja election would be addressed.
Clearly, the route to NLC having a factional leadership after years of unity of purpose may have been paved.
Meanwhile, the Congress has directed its members to stay away from the ‘special delegates’ conference.
A statement signed in Abuja yesterday by the NLC’s General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, said the conference is influenced by individuals driven by inordinate ambition and vainglory.
He therefore advised all affiliate unions of the Labour body to steer clear of the conference. He said: “Affiliate unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress are hereby advised to ignore any invitation to such a conference as the 11th Delegates Conference was concluded in the early hours of Saturday, March, 14, 2015 following the successful election of the national executives of the Congress in a free, fair and credible election under the watchful eyes of unions, delegates, invited guests, veterans and members of the media.”
In the rescheduled election in Abuja, yesterday morning, the Returning Officer, Aliyu Dangiwa, declared Wabba winner with 1,695 votes, while his challenger, the Secretary General of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero, polled 1,400 votes.
Five candidates contested the vacant three positions of Deputy President. The General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peters Adeyemi, scored 1,604; the President of Nigeria Union of Civil Service (NUCS), Kiri Mohammed, got 1,610; while the National President of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Najeem Yasin, scored 1,818 to emerge as the three Deputy Presidents.
Both the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Issa Aremu, who polled 1,112 and the President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, who scored 1,283 and who contested for Deputy President failed to make it, as they scored lower figure than Adeyemi, Mohammed and Yasin.
For the position of Trustee, Isok Boniface of the National Union of Chemical Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic polled 1,803 to defeat Otu Kelechi of the Metal Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (MEPROSSAN) who Scored 1,062.
Danjuma Musa of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees polled 1,119 losing to Safiyanu Mohammed of the National Union Of Air Transport (NUATE), who polled 1,769 for the position of the Financial Secretary.
Eight candidates contested the three slots of Auditors. The three successful candidates are: Leke Success of National Union of Hotels and Personal Services who polled 1,420; Yemisi Bamgbose of Radio and Television and Theatre Workers Union who scored 1,542 and Anchaver Simeon of Agric and Allied Employees of Nigeria who polled 1,382.
They defeated Al-hassan Sunday of National Union of Post and Tele-Communication Employees who garnered 209; Danjuma Papa of National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers who scored 900; K.S Ogbaloi of National Union of Shops and Distributive Employees who polled 138; R.B Okoro of the National Union of Railway men who polled 717 and Yahaya Yashi of Nigeria Union of Civil Service Secretariat and Stenographic Workers who garnered 760 to complete the list of those that lost.
The withdrawal of Nted Anthony of Maritime Workers Union from the Vice President race helped Asuguni Amechi of National Union of Civil Engineering Construction Furniture and Wood Workers, Dutsinma Lawal of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives and Oyelekan Lateef of National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees stroll easily to victory without contest.
Some 23 unions, mostly populated by the losers, led by Joe Ajaero, the President NUPENG, Achese Igwe and General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Issa Aremu, declared the election “inconclusive”.
The group insists that the results declared were unsigned by the contestants in breach of the guidelines of the NLC constitution.
The Ajaero group tagged ‘Restoration Group’ has consequently scheduled what it termed ‘Special Delegates’ Conference’ of the NLC for Friday, March 13 and Saturday March 14, 2015 in Lagos.
The group also announced Peter Balogun of the Civil Service Secretary and Stenographic Workers as the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the conference.
Before the announcement of the ‘special delegates’ conference, some members of the Restoration group had stormed out of the Eagles square venue of the conference in protest.
There was a moment of anxiety when some union members chanting solidarity songs, moved towards the collation centre. They were, however, checkmated by armed policemen who barricaded the entrance into the voting arena. They were restricted to a corner and prevented from causing any harm to voters and other delegates.
Shortly before the announcement of the results, Ajaero and some other members of the Restoration Group had alleged that the process was not free and fair and was marred by rigging through manipulation of the delegate lists and other irregularities.
Ajaero accused the immediate past President, Abdulwahed Omar, and the Chairman of the NLC Credentials Committee, Isah Fagge, and Dangiwa of supervising a troubled process.
He declared that the sorting of the result by Omar was unacceptable to him and his group, as it could not be said to be transparent.
On his part, Aremu said that if the NLC could not conduct a transparent free and fair election,
it has lost moral right whatsoever to comment on elections conducted by politicians.
The election had a turnout of 3,119 delegates from all the 43 affiliates of the NLC.
NLC’s General Secretary, Ozo-Eson, stated that the processes leading to the elections and the elections themselves were manifestly transparent, incontestable and unimpeachable.
He added that all the contestants and their delegates voluntarily lent and submitted themselves to the electioneering/voting processes and no objections were raised during the voting.
He said: “At no time, from the commencement of the accreditation of delegates to the voting, counting of votes and announcement of results, was any complaint raised or lodged.”
He appealed to the individuals involved in the Lagos conference to desist from any act of tarnishing the image of the Congress.
“Congress therefore finds it necessary to advise that individuals should resist the temptation to be used as agents of factionalisation or destabilisation of the Congress. The Congress is bigger than any of us,” he said.