Chris Steven, Abuja
There is no end in sight to the leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as the National Headquarters of the congress yesterday disclaimed two of its members, Comrades Joe Ajaero and Isa Aremu.
The two NLC were candidates for the post of president and deputy president of NLC in its rescheduled election on March 14, 2015 where they lost but insisted that the election was marred by irregularities.
They have since formed a parallel leadership of the Congress as President and Deputy President respectively.
But in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday titled ” Serial Impersonation by Comrades Joe Ajaero and Isa Aremu as NLC leaders, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba lamented that the two union leaders have been parading themselves as elected officers of the Congress even after losing in the election.
The attention of the National leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has been drawn to the serial impersonation by Comrades Joe Ajaero and Issa Aremu since they both lost their bids to be President and Deputy President, respectively, of NLC at the rescheduled March 14, 2015 elections of Congress.
The statement reads ” while we had restrained the National Secretariat from publishing a disclaimer in the hope that commonsense and sanity will eventually prevail on our comrades to stop this delusion, it has become clear to us and the entire labour movement that Comrades Ajaero and Aremu are determined to continue in their criminal enterprise of impersonation as President and Deputy President of NLC.
It is for this reason that Comrade Aremu had continued to issue statements in which he continually purport to be Deputy President of Congress and on behalf of our revered organisation. One such statement, and which was given wide publicity in at least four national dailies – The Nation, Tribune, Leadership and Daily Sun – published on Monday June 22, 2015, contended that the alleged decision of the National Assembly to voluntarily cut its budget from N150 billion to N120 billion was “too token and not far-reaching enough.”
As General Secretaries of their respective unions that are affiliates of the NLC, we cannot stop Comrade Aremu (of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria) and Ajaero (of National Union of Electricity Employees), or any officer of an industrial union from speaking on any national issues they feel strongly about. However, no affiliate industrial union or their officers are at liberty to issue statements in the name of the Nigeria Labour Congress UNLESS such and affiliate is expressly mandated to do so.
All instances since Comrades Ajaero and Aremu lost their bids to be elected as President and Deputy President (including the statement attributed to Aremu under reference) are clear cases of criminal impersonation. We had course to recently alert our international allies – Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), International Trade Union Confederation-Africa(ITUC-Africa) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), among other labour bodies – to discountenance any correspondence from Comrades Joe Ajaero and Issa Aremu if it is purported to be on behalf of NLC.”
Comrade Wabba in the statement further said that the Congress had informed the Nigerian public that the rescheduled elections of the NLC to conclude its 11th Delegates’ Conference that was violently disrupted on February 14, 2015 commenced on March 12, 2015 under the close supervision of veterans of Congress.
“There was adequate security presence to avoid a repeat of the February incidence.
Apart from reconstituting the Credentials’ Committee to provide for each of the two presidential candidates (Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Comrade Joe Ajaero) who were represented by two members each, the veterans made the founding General Secretary of Congress, Comrade Aliyu Dangiwa, to be the Chief Returning Officer for the elections.
Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, the pioneer President of Congress, at the end of the elections, administered the oath of office on the newly elected officers of Congress. The Registrar of Trade Unions, who regulates trade union activities statutorily on behalf of Government, witnessed the entire processes of the elections in the full glare of the media.
Apart from these credible personalities, the Secretary General of ITUC-Africa, Brother Kwasi Amankwah, also witnessed the conduct of the elections.” he added
He lamented that while “Comrades Ajaero and Aremu pretend to be advocates of democracy, they have both become clear embarrassments, to themselves and unfortunately to the entire labour movement, since they lost the elections to be national officers of Congress.”
“They have failed to show even an iota of democratic civility by approaching law courts if not satisfied with the processes that produced the new leadership of NLC on March 14, 2015. Instead, they have since then been engaged in what are clear cases of obfuscation, blackmail and criminal impersonation.” Comrade Wabba said