NLC pickets Labour Party office, Party says it’s unlawful

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NLC pickets Labour Party office, Party says it's unlawfulThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday picketed the Labour Party headquarters to press home its demand for the immediate resignation of the Party National Chairman, Mr Julius Abure.

Prof. Theophilus Ndubuaku, Deputy President of NLC Political Commission while addressing newsmen during the picketing in Abuja said the Congress had passed a vote of no confidence on Abure.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NLC Political Commission had alleged that Abure convened a national convention of the party as if he had sole proprietorship over it.

Subsequently, the NLC Political Commission had called for his immediate resignation.

NAN reports that the protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions; “Bye bye to Abure, Labour Party is our party,” Our party, our hope, “Away with corrupt leaders in the party, among others.

Ndubuaku said that the picketing at the headquarters of the party was to express workers’ grievances towards Abure’s administration of the party.

According to him, Nigeria is not the only country that has a political party backed by organised labour.

“Why would our own be different. The essence of registering a Labour Party in this country is not only to become a president or office holders but to create a viable opposition.

“Any country where there is no any viable opposition, then, there would be dictatorship.The reason we set up this party is to have good governance in this country.

“There have been court judgements, declaring Labour party as been owned by the NLC and there has been intervention by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), telling Abure to appoint members of Board of Trustees (BoT).

“They have also told Abure to organise an all inclusive convention but what we now saw, is a notice of a convention that we do not know about.

“We do not know who are the delegates that are  going to be at that convention and even the elected officers in the National Assembly (NASS) are not aware of this, ”he said.

Ndubuakun noted that, a day before Abure issued the notice of the convention, he was with the NLC president, Joe Ajaero and the members of the political commission at the Congress headquarters but he did not informed 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,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Bello Ismail, Acting General Secretary of NLC said that the commission had been engaging Abure on issues concerning the party, but he failed to inform them on the upcoming convention of the party.

Ismail said that Abure did not follow due process as it concerns the plans for the party’s convention.

“We were also thinking that he was going to organise a convention in line with the understanding with organised labour.

“But Abure knowing that he can never agree to an all inclusive convention wanted to do the convention by himself.

“Those in the NLC Political Commission has put in a lot of efforts in the party and
we would insist that all democratic norms are fulfilled.

“We will insist that workers take back their party. We want a convention where all the stakeholders, the workers, youths, informal workers, among others are involved.

“The party is now in the hands of usurpers, who are looking for N30 million or N40 million for the purchase of forms. excluding the people who founded the party,” he said.

Mr Chris Uyot, General Secretary of the Commission said it was wrong for Abure to plan a convention without consultation with the stakeholders of the party.

Uyot noted that the NLC Political Commission would not allow the convention to hold.

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 owned this party and would ensure they take hold of their party and will drive out the dictators, ”he said.

It’s unlawful…

Reacting in an exclusive phone chat with The PUNCH, the party’s National Youth Leader, Kennedy Ahanotu, expressed disappointment with the manner in which the NLC handled the situation.

While saying it is wrong for a movement that symbolises the masses’ struggle to picket a political party, the NWC member accused the NLC leadership of being partisan through their action.

He said, “Nigeria is a democratic and lawful country. Therefore, people should know the boundaries of the law. If the NLC feels it is their right and it is lawful to picket the Labour Party, it is fine. But if it is not lawful, they will face the consequences of the law.

“For crying out loud, there are workers’ issues to look into. There are issues of minimum wage, health, fuel removal crisis, and insecurity everywhere. The NLC is supposed to be concerned about the welfare of Nigerian workers, not picketing a political office.

“Let them continue to picket the party office and see where it leads them. They can’t stop the party from breathing. After the issue between the party and the NLC, it is not worth this kind of drama they are playing.

“There is a lot of power play going on, and it is not healthy for our generation. That level of power play cannot help a system that wants to be rejigged. Even if the NLC is the founder of the Labour Party, the party is an institution on its own and should be allowed to breathe.

“Again, the NLC should not show any sign of partisanship in terms of practical politics because they are supposed to be facing the government of the day. They are not even supposed to participate in political activities. It is something that should be done underground and not to be playing to the gallery in the manner they are doing.

“If they are accusing Abure, the chairman and secretary of the NLC Political Commission have been there for more than 15 years. Is that democratic? I am not comfortable with what is playing out here.”

The spokesman for the Labour Party Campaign Organisation, Yunusa Tanko, however, called for caution.

NAN/Punch