By Victor Ahiuma-Young

THE second umbrella body for workers in Nigeria; the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, is in turmoil over moves by its leadership to throw open for contest, the position of its President, ahead of its 12th National Delegates Conference, NDC, contrary to the resolution of its NDC held on June 28, 2019 at NAF Centre, Abuja.

The Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court, NIC, Two days ago (Wednesday) stopped the NDC slated for between Tuesday July 19 and Wednesday 20, 2022. Ruling on the ex-parte motion, Justice Rabiu Gwandu, adjourned the case to July 18, 2022 for hearing.

Ten affiliates of TUC had approached the NIC to determine the legality of TUC moves to jettison the resolution of the 2019 NDC, part of which has been implemented.

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They  also  prayed the court to among others,  retrain TUC “from publishing for election the position of the President of TUC for the year 2022 to 2025”; and any other orders that the court “may deem fit to make in the circumstance of this suit.”

The affiliates are Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, Pulp Paper and Paper Products Printing and Publishing Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Senior Staff Association of Shipping Clearing and Forwarding Agencies, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Precision, Electrical and Related Equipment Senior Staff Association,  Shop and Distributive Trade Senior Staff Association, Textile Garment and Tailoring Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, and Automobile, Boatyard, Transport, Equipment and Allied Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.

Genesis of crisis

Sequel to the 2019 NDC, Vanguard gathered that TUC’s Central Working Committee, CWC and National Executive Council,  NEC, in 2019, a proposal was made for a seamless  and rancor free conference as done by other labour center that President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Francis Olabode Johnson, FOJ, penciled down to replace the outgoing TUC President, Bobboi Kiagama, of  Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, would serve a term, while  Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI would produce a president after FOJ to serve for another term as well.

It was gathered that the proposal was agreed and ratified at the 11th TUC’s Triennial NDC  held on June, 28 2019 at NAF Centre, Abuja, that the ASSBIFI should produce the next president of TUC for the year 2022 to 2025.

According to investigations, following the sudden death of the FOJ, who was penciled down to succeed the then outgoing President,  Bobboi Kaigama, in 2019, it was gathered that TUC during its Triennial Delegates Conference, TDC,  constituted an Electoral Committee chaired by  Augustine Etafo of Construction and Engineering Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, CESSAN, and also a Deputy President of the Congress to work out modalities for elections into TUC as a way of resolving the squabble and save the TUC from collapse.

It was gathered that the Electoral Committee, after the National Officers positions were harmonised with the approval of the TUC’s NEC, recommended that to prevent rancour or internal crisis “Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, FOBTOB, should take the position of TUC President in 2019- 2022.  ASSBIFI should take the position of TUC President in 2022- 2025, and that after the tenure of ASSBIFI, the position of the President shall be opened to all members to contest.”

 Motion 

According to Vanguard checks, the recommendations of the Electoral Committee were then presented to the NDC at the 11th TDC of the TUC presided by the then President,  Kaigama on the 28th day of June, 2019 at the NAF Centre, Abuja.

To ratify the recommendations of the Electoral Committee, motions were subsequently presented to the NDC “to adopt and ratify that FOBTOB take the position of the President of TUC from 2019 to 2022.

“This motion was moved by the General Secretary of Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies, SSASCGOC, Olorunfemi Ayo and seconded by a member of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN and Vice Chairman TUC, Delta State, Bono Martins. Another motion was to  adopt and ratify that the ASSBIFI will take the position of TUC President from 2022 to 2025. The motion was moved by Makinde Solomon of FOBTOB and seconded by Mercy Dominic of ASSBIFI.”

The motion became the instrument which FOBTOB assumed the office of the President of TUC in 2019 to 2022 through Quadri Olaleye.

However, ahead of its 12th TDC, TUC has reportedly thrown open for contest, the position of the President.

Vanguard gathered that three Unions; PENGASSAN, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC and ASSBIFI (who is demanding to be sole candidacy) based on recommendation of 2019 NDC have filled forms to contest the position of TUC’s President.

Checks revealed that ASSBIFI and some other affiliates of TUC have kicked against the decision to throw the position open, describing it as unfair, discriminatory and a breach of the resolution of 2019 NDC.

Those sympathetic to ASSBIFI are of the opinion that the  moves is part of the continuation of the plots by the cabal in TUC to ensure that the umbrella body for senior workers in the nation’s financial sector does not produce the president of TUC.

According to them, all efforts by ASSBIFI to produce the President of TUC since inception have always been frustrated since inception.

According to them, the last three Presidents of  ASSBIFI tried in vein to become TUC president.

However, leaders of ASSBIFI have refused to speak on the issue 

Factions

Speaking on the issue, one of the leaders of TUC who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said “There are two major parties concerning the TUC forthcoming elections. Party A wants the resolutions of 2019 NDC to be upheld; which is that ASSBIFI would produce the President of TUC come 2022 and that the 2022 NDC doesn’t need to advertise or call for election into that office. 

“Party B disagrees and says the Constitution of TUC supersedes all organs and persons of the Congress so the 2022 NDC should take a stand on this,which Party A is not disposed to.”

Though PENGASSAN has refused to speak on it, but a source close to the Association claimed the umbrella body of senior workers in the nation’s Petroleum Industry is arguing that it was not part of the 2019 NDC that resolved that ASSBIFI should produce TUC president from 2022 to 2025.

According to the source, “The position of PENGASSAN is that before the sudden death of their President, Francis Olabode Johnson, in 2019, he was edging to becoming TUC’s President. And already, the conference had been fixed. PENGASSAN was asked to present a replacement.

“But they pleaded for a postponement of the conference  to enable them bury and mourn their departed president. But for the  reasons known to them, leaders of TUC refused and went ahead with the NDC. 

Disclaimer

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