Politics

March 16, 2024

LP, NLC fight dirty over scheduled national convention

Abure

Abure

…NLC pass vote of no confidence on Abure
…Resign your position to contest Chairmanship, party mocks NLC President
…says Ajero desperate to replace Abure

John Alechenu

A crisis of confidence has broken out between the Nigeria Labour Congress and the leadership of the Labour Party.

The NLC in a widely publicized letter passed a vote of no confidence on the LP National Chairman, Julius Abure and demanded his immediate resignation.

The Labour Union also dissociated itself from the national convention scheduled for March 27, 2024. It said the convention which is being organised by the Comrade Julius Abure-led National Working Committee is illegal.

In response, The leadership of the Labour Party asked the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajero to resign his position to contest for the Chairmanship of the party since he appears desperate to replace Julius Abure.

National Publicity Secretary of the LP, Obiora Ifoh, said this in a statement, in Abuja, on Saturday.

He said the party’s attention was drawn to a Press Release titled ‘A misadventure in political mischief, mismanagement and misdemeanour gone too far’ written by the NLC’s Political Commission as an agent of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

The NLC letter he said, did not come to party leaders as a surprise or a shock, because it was long expected before now, having known that the NLC was going to engage itself in this misadventure.

Ifoh said, “Nigerians will recall that in 2014, NLC has been involved in a war of blackmail and attrition against the Labour Party and its leadership.

“It was only recently, following the civil and diplomatic approach adopted by Barrister Julius Abure when he assumed leadership that he was able to get the then President of the NLC, Ayuba Waba and the then President of the Trade Union Congress, Olaleye Quadri to a truce where the NLC, TUC and Labour Party agreed to work together in harmony.

“Unfortunately, the rascality of the current president of the NLC, Joe Ajero has destroyed the successes already recorded. It must be noted that the NLC and its political commission have become a bundle of contradiction and paradox.

“The Nigeria Labour Congress has written several letters to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and to the party on the need to conduct a national convention.

“In fact, the NLC has queried even the rationale behind the one year extension which was graciously granted by the NEC in session in Asaba, which is in line with the party constitution.

“The leadership of the party in its wisdom has decided to yield to their agitation for a convocation of a national convention.
Article 14:4b of our party constitution mandates the National Secretary in consultation with the National Chairman to ‘issue notices of meetings of National Convention, NEC, NWC amongst others.

“ It is in the exercise of this power that the national chairman and national Secretary have called for the convention following the decision of the national executive council of the party.

“It is therefore ironical for the same NLC which has been agitating for a convention to now be demanding the rationale for the call for a convention.

“At this point, the leadership of the party wants to ask the NLC, what exactly do they want? If Joe Ajero is interested in the leadership of the party, he is therefore advised to resign as the President of the NLC and join in the contest for the National Chairmanship of the party that is scheduled for the convention on the 27th of March, 2024.”

He further said, “We must note that undue interference by the Nigeria Labour Congress on the affairs of the party has become worrisome and it has become needful to emphasis here the distinction that the Labour Party has a life of its own different from that of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

“ In fact, the 1999 Constitution states clearly that once a political party is registered, it has a life of its own whereby it can run it’s own affairs without any interference.

“The Electoral Act and the Constitution provide that no organisation can own any other organisation. The NLC as an organisation can not claim the ownership of the Labour Party.

“The constitution of the party is clear that it is only those who subscribe to the party and those who are financial members of the party are the owners of the party and therefore can have a say on the affairs of the party.

“The interference of the present leadership of the NLC on the party is really choking and we can hardly breath. It is this NLC leadership which pressured on the Party not to give His Excellency, Alex Otti the governorship ticket for the 2023 general election on the ground that he was allegedly not workers’ friendly when he was a Chief Executive of a bank.

“But today, that same Alex Otti is doing Labour Party proud with the work he is doing in Abia state.

“Again, the same NLC attempted to prevail on the leadership of the party to upload a different candidate other than Senator Athan Achonu after he won the Imo state party primaries under the Labour Party.

“It will shock Nigerians to know that members and officials of the NLC are not even card carrying members of the Labour Party. All over the country, NLC members have been found to be supporting either the APC or the PDP.

“It is again of importance to make certain clarification as to the so called judgements that were referred to by the NLC, we must indicate clearly that the Labour Party is not in default of any court judgment whatsoever.

“The agreement reached by the NLC to call for a convention is what we are following, we have fully implemented that agreement and the convention is in line with the agreement. We are therefore not in any default of court judgment as erroneously implied by the NLC.

“We therefore want to advise the NLC and its commission that it should focus only on its statutory responsibilities of defending the workers and the workers’ right.

“Today minimum wage is N30.000 while a bag of rice is N80.000. We hear about NLC talk about ethos and ethics of the Labour movement and the Labour Party, this is also an NLC that cannot call or sustain a strike for one or two days without calling it off.

“This is an NLC which cannot think of calling a protest and sustaining it in order to get the attention of the government for the interest of the workers.

“The present NLC should take a time to listen to the opinion Nigerians have formed about them. Can the NLC of today in any way be compared to NLC of the then Hassan Sumounu, Adams Oshiohmole and a few others in the past?”

The LP Spokesman said the leadership of the Trade Union Congress, TUC and it’s Political Commission under the leadership of Comrade Festus Osifo for their commitment to labour related issues and their refusal to sign the press release which the NLC issued.

The party equally advised Joe Ajero to emulate leadership of Ayuba Waba, Olaleye Quadri and Osifo in working closely with the party.

It noted that the ill-intended Press Release by the Political Commission also made a reference to spurious allegations made by the suspended National treasurer, Oluchi Opara and it attempted to give it some credence.

Adding, “This clearly exposes the mischief by the NLC to hoodwink the people. We have stated clearly that the total money received by the party was N1.3billion and no other report has contradicted it.

“So for the NLC to be quoting that spurious allegations goes to show that they are part of the challenges Labour Party has been facing.

“We are shocked that NLC which was a victim of a recent harassment, threat to life and brutalization of its president would express shock over similar treatment meted to our chairman, Barrister Julius Abure who was brutalized for political reasons and nothing more.

“We must also state clearly that our leader, Peter Obi made reference to the audit of the campaign account and not forensic audit for the Labour Party. In any case, we have stated clearly that the Labour Party is open to forensic audit of its accounts.

We are even calling on the NLC to send its own external auditors to check our financial books. We are also calling on Peter Obi to expedite action on the auditing of our accounts. And for the NLC to be using this as a cheap blackmail is to show their high level of desperation and mischief.”