Some members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday elected the president of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Joseph Ajaero, as factional president for the congress.
The faction had disagreed with the March 12 election in Abuja where Ayuba Wabba emerged as the NLC president.
The faction announced its choice of Ajaero after members held a conference in Lagos. Ajaero and the other officers elected by the faction were returned unopposed.
Reacting to the development on Thursday, the General Secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, said the congress election had already been conducted in Abuja and that what happened in Lagos lacked constitutional backing.
“The election of the NLC leaders had already been conducted in Abuja and journalists should ask themselves about the constitutionality of what happened in Lagos today,” Ozo-Eson told one of our correspondents on the phone late on Thursday.
The emergence of Wabba, a former president of the Medical and Health Workers Union as the NLC president at the rescheduled election in Abuja, had been opposed by delegates loyal to the NUEE and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers candidates.
The group said the election of new leaders into the union was important to restore the credibility of the congress and correct the irregularities noticed in the Abuja election, which included alleged changing of rules close to the commencement of the election.
Members of the group condemned the administration of the former NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar, saying that it was marred with numerous job losses, failure to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage as well as alleged moral issues bordering on the failed Kriston-Lally house project.
In Lagos on Thursday, delegates from 23 affiliate unions of the NLC, elected, by affirmation, Igwe Achese as First Deputy President; Issa Aremu as Second Deputy President; Kazeem Kadiri of Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria as the First Vice President and Yahaya Yashi as the Second Vice President.
Ibrahim Khaleel was affirmed as the National Treasurer and Danjuma Musa of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees was elected as the financial secretary.
The President, Nigerian Union of Railway Workers, Raphael Okoro, Saliu Otori of Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and Theophilus Ndubuala of Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions emerged as auditors.
In his acceptance speech, Ajaero said, “The Abdulwaheed Omar leadership affected significantly on the euphoria of the extraordinary performance of NLC under the leadership of Adams Oshiomole between 1999 and 2007.
“Unfortunately, that momentum could not be sustained as NLC under Omar lost focus, direction, sense of duty and commitment to the cause of the working people as manifested in increased number of job losses without union protection, increased contract and casual employment despite the inauguration of anti-casualisation committee led by Ayuba Wabba.”
He pledged to respond adequately to the yearnings and aspirations of affiliates, accept the right of workers to join the union and ensure that no employer deny workers their rights.
Meanwhile, the NLC National Administrative Council has set up a task force to actualise payment of eight months’ salary arrears owed workers by some state governments.
This was contained in a communiqué released at the end a meeting of the NAC of the Congress, signed by President and General Secretary of the NLC respectively, Mr. Ayuba Wabba and Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson.
The congress condemned the failure of some state governments to pay their workers for as many as eight months.