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NASU seeks adoption of consensus candidates in union elections


General Secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi

General Secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi

THE adoption of consensus candidates by labour unions will prevent rancor and the emergence of self-serving labour leaders, the Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has said.

The new President of the union, Chris Ani, who disclosed this after his emergence in Abuja, explained that NASU delegates’ conferences have been rancour-free owing to long planning which always lead to the emergence of suitable candidates for various elective positions.

His words: “The adoption of consensus candidacy reduces rancour and election financial burden. The moment candidates begin to fund money to fund elections; the tendency is that such candidates will fall back on members to get the money back. What we are out to do is to inculcate into the system is the spirit of service to humanity and not exploit the people who are contributing money. My message to unions is that we have adopted the consensus system and it is consistent.

My emergence is not by magic, there were a lot of consultations and at the end of the day, and we all agreed that a consensus candidate must emerge. In fact, there were three of us that signalled our intention to contest at the beginning. At the end of the day, everybody keyed into the system and it worked. I believe if political parties and industrial unions can adopt the system, it will steady the ship of development and halt rancour and insincerity that are manifesting in the recent past.”

He noted that though the challenges of superintended over a heterogeneous union like NASU is enormous especially in the face of anti-people policies by government, the new leadership would strive to promote and protect the interests of the members.
“There are a lot of motions and resolutions that the delegates’ conference observed during the conference proper, which will form some kind of takeoff grant for the administration. The most important thing is to ensure the welfare of our members and there is no way we can promote that without dialoguing with and join issues with government when the need arises,” he stated.

The NASU boss declared that the claim of inability to pay the minimum wage by some governors is their private opinion saying when the economy was booming and money laundering and trafficking was going on, labour was not involved.
He added: “Now that there is no money, they should reduce their salaries and those of their numerous aides and not on salary earners. The governors are playing with fire if any of them venture into salary reduction misadventure.

He stressed that NASU under his watch would continue to advocate adequate funding of libraries as well as resist the attempt by government to privatize staff schools in the universities.

He said: “I must say that education policies is not just about funding but upgrading of infrastructure to cater for the increasing population in the tertiary institutions. Government set up the NEEDS assessment committee, up to now we do know to what extent the findings of this committee have been incorporated into tertiary education administration. We intend to pursue this vigorously with a view to asking government relevant questions. Most of the infrastructure that is in the tertiary institutions was put in place by our founding fathers many decades ago but have remained the same after so many years.”

On his part, the General Secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi noted that the adoption of consensus candidacies has stabilized NASU in the last 16 years just as he decried the emergence of self-serving individuals in the labour movement.

His words: “The unfortunate thing about labour movement now is that individuals are becoming selfish. It is no longer what one can do to advance the interests of workers, but it is becoming what individuals can get from the movement. We have started discouraging that in NASU by the election of Ivor Takor was elected President even when he did not even showed any interest in becoming President but the leadership saw in him sterling leadership qualities that will be of benefit for our members. When he left, we then decided to pick Ladi Illiya, who at that time was the chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Women Commission. Before her emergence, she had been National Treasurer and deputy President of the union.”

He stressed that NASU was more determined to organize a rancourous-free election following the rancour that trailed the NLC, saying: “What happened after the NLC election had distracted the NLC to the extent that serious issues that affect Nigerian worker have not been taken on board because we had division among ourselves.”
Adeyemi explained that rancour and acrimonies always trail election contests adding that whoever loses will have supporters, which will necessitates reconciliation process and healing of political wounds.

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