Labour party and NLC in messy battle for supremacy


The supremacy fight between the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Labour Party, LP, continued yesterday, with the union picketing the headquarters and secretariats of the party nationwide, insisting the national chairman, Julius Abure, quit office.

But the party in a swift reaction, described the forcible entry of NLC members into its headquarters and secretariat as illegal and criminal.

Speaking when workers occupied the Labour Party headquarters in Abuja, the Deputy President of NLC Political Commission, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, said the picketing was to express workers’ grievances towards Abure’s administration of the party.

He said: “Nigeria is not the only country that has a Labour Party backed by Organised Labour. There are so many others.

“Why would our own be different, the essence of registering a Labour Party in this country is not only to become a president or hold an office but also to create a viable opposition and any country where there is no viable opposition, then there would be dictatorship. The reason we set up this party is to make us have good governance in this country.”

While faulting the alleged unilateral convocation of national convention without consulting the relevant stakeholders, the NLC stated further: “There has been court judgements declaring labour party as being owned by the NLC and there has been intervention by INEC telling Abure to appoint BOT members and organize all-inclusive convention.

“But what we now saw is a convention that we do not know who and who are going to be at that convention and the elected officers in the National Assembly thought he insulted them.

“You will not believe that a day before Abure issued the notice of the convention, he was with the NLC president and the political commission in the NLC office without telling them.

“All we are saying is that we do not want Abure, he should resign and go. He cannot be the sole administrator of Labour Party.”

Also speaking, the acting General Secretary of NLC, Comrade Bello Ismail, said the commission had been engaging Abure, thinking he was following due process,

“We were also thinking he was going to organise a convention, in line with the understanding with Labour to have an all-inclusive convention but Abure, knowing that he can never survive an all-inclusive convention wanted to do a convention in the night.

“Those in the NLC Political Commission have done a lot of efforts to reach this state of taking over our party by ourselves. We would insist that all democratic norms are fulfilled. We will insist that workers take back their party.

“We want a convention where we are all the stakeholders and we are very active and all will participate.

“We do not want a convention where one man will hand pick the officers of the party. We want a convention where in the 37 states of the federation, all stakeholders, including workers, youths, young people, informal workers can have a say in the party.

“We are not money people, but we have a voice and we want a party where, without money, we can participate, and that is what Labour Party offers.

”Now, it is in the hands of this usurper, he is looking for N30 million, N40 million, and so on to buy forms, excluding the people who founded the party. Enough is enough, Abure must go,” he said.

On his part, Chris Uyot, Secretary of the NLC Political Commission, said the national chairman of the party has decided to hold a convention without consulting, without discussion with the stakeholders in the party.

Comrade Uyot said: “He did not discuss with the NLC or with Labour or even with the House of Representatives who are stakeholders in the Labour Party, he did not discuss with anybody, he did not discuss with the Obidients, all the people that belong to this party or even have a stake in this party.

“So, he wants to have a convention where he will pick people as delegates, no it is not done. A convention starts from the local government areas, before it goes to states and then national.

“We are not going to have a dictator in our party, it is not going to be possible. Nigerian workers are democratic, and they support democracy.

“Nigerian workers own this party and would ensure they take hold of their party and chase out the looters.”

Responding, the Comrade Julius Abure-led National Working Committee, NWC, of the party decried what it described as unlawful break and entry into its national headquarters by “the militant arm of the Nigeria Labour Congress.”

The party, which noted that the NLC raid led to the collosal destruction of party property, described the act as a criminal misplacement of priority and an action done in bad faith.

National Publicity Secretary of Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, said the party was appalled by the desperation exhibited by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.

Ifoh said: “The party notes that the President of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero’s greed and inordinate ambition have pushed him into losing every sense of discretion and decency in his recent conducts, be it in his affairs with the workers or even the government.

“As a party, we wonder how Ajaero would lead a band of lawless persons who are known to have partisan interests in other major political parties such as the PDP and APC against a recognized independent political party.

“Ajaero’s continuous claim that NLC owns the Labour Party is not in any way supported by either the Electoral Act or the Constitution.

“ For his information, a political party is owned by those who are card-carrying or financial members of the party.

“We are aware that more than 90 percent of the members of the NLC have not met this condition and therefore cannot claim to be the owners of the party.

“The constitution also provides that no organisation can own any other organisation. The NLC as an organisation can therefore not claim the ownership of the Labour Party.”


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