Food union demands election to resolve leadership crisis
A faction of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) has insisted that until elections are conducted by the leadership of the main body for new executives to emerging, they were not ready to reconcile.
The aggrieved members, who pulled out to form a faction, alleged that the leadership of the union was restrained by a court injunction from extending the tenure of the incumbent President, Lateef Oyelekan, and his executive members.
Addressing a news conference, acting National President of NUFBTE faction, Peter Onoja, expressed disappointment with the leadership and President of the main body, Lateef Oyelekan, who has refused to conduct elections after his tenure expired.
Onoja accused Oyelekan of serving for 16 years, even as he admitted that the union’s constitution has no tenure limit, but said the constitution emphasised that there must be elections every four years to choose the leaders.
He alleged that Oyelekan lacked accountability and purposeful leadership, as the true essence of trade unionism was completely lost on him.
He alleged that loans of about N150 million were collected to build structures without training and capacity building for members, in addition to the non-payment of exit benefits and gratuities.
The faction alleged that he was using his position as president to personally enrich himself, and relations to run affairs of the union among others.
“So, some of us feel bad that if the constitution says every four years you must hold an election; even if you want to contest, hold an election; if you win everybody will support you legitimately. We are not destroying anybody. What we want is the truth. But he refused; so we approached the National Industrial Court, and on August 19, the National Industrial Court gave an interlocutory injunction that no emergency conference should be held until the determination of the case,” Onaja said.
The union also accused the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which supervises its affairs of being biased, by not instituting mechanisms to resolve the crisis.
Onoja continued: “President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, is taking sides without resolving issues that led to the crisis. The NLC went against the court injunction, and led NUFBTE to a midnight conference.”
Meanwhile, the NUFBTE has refuted reports by some former members that it has a leadership crisis.
The acting General Secretary of NUFBTE, Mike Olanrewaju, said the special Delegate Conference, which gave the incumbent President, Lateef Oyelekan, two years extension was constitutional and was held under the supervision of the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba.