Our attention has been drawn to news report in which Comrade Joe Ajaero, the general secretary of NUEE, and Igwe Achese, president of NUPENG claimed they have formed a new labour centre called the United Labour Congress (ULC).
It will be recalled that following their defeat at the March 2015 rescheduled election in their Bid to lead the NLC, these Comrades have been parading themselves as “president,” and “deputy president” of NLC respectively.
The Congress would like to assure our members across the length and breadth of the country and the general public that the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress is committed to the unity of the working class in the country notwithstanding the latest declaration by Comrade Ajaero and Achese.
We shall do everything within our power to preserve the unity and coherence of the labour movement which was handed down to us by our forebears in the movement.
It will be recalled that our Comrades in their ambition to lead Nigerian Workers in February, 2015, at the elections which would have concluded the 10th delegates conference of the NLC, disrupted and scattered the ballot papers that were already casted, in the full glare of the world.
This was after delegates had voted to waive the requirement to allow Comrade Igwe Achese who has been campaigning to be President, to step down to deputy president position, and declare support for the candidacy of Joe Ajaero.
At the rescheduled election held in March 2015, following the intervention of the veterans of our movement, and with the provision of adequate security, the plot of Comrades Ajaero and Achese to disrupt the elections again once it was clear that their combined forces will not deliver them the leadership of Nigerian workers they had so clamoured for, was thwarted, and the election results were successfully announced.
Thereafter the veterans led by the founding president of our organization, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu stepped in to reconcile the congress with Comrade Ajaero and Achese.
This took several meetings, and just before the May 2016 May Day, an agreement was fashioned out with them to drop their claim to the leadership of the NLC and team up with the NLC leadership to hold a united May Day.
As it turned out, Comrade Ajaero and Achese went ahead to organize a parallel May Day in Lagos, despite the explicit commitment and undertaking they gave to the veterans at the reconciliation meeting.
This made Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, who had being chairing the reconciliation meeting all along to express his disappointment with the Ajaero group in an interview with the Sunday Sun Newspapers of 23rd July, 2016.
Two days later, on 25th July 2016, Ajaero and his group authored a 3-page letter full of insults and blackmail to the respected founding president of congress.
This was intended to effectively end the intervention of Comrade Sunmonu and the veterans.
We wish to further state that despite the antics of our Comrades, and their obstinate refusal to accept the result of a clear democratic contest, we had ensured their inclusion and participation in the affairs of the NLC.
In this respect, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Ajaero’s union had representation in the state leadership structure of congress and also the National Executive Council of NLC, the Chairman of Kebbi NLC is from that union, as well as SAC members in Jigawa and a few other states.
We had spent considerable time and energy working with the veterans of congress to bring our estranged comrade fully back to the congress because as they say, “if you allow a crack in your wall, you invite the lizard in”.
We didn’t want our class opponents to use them as the weak link to undermine the solidarity of our movement.
Unfortunately, as Nigerians saw during our last national strike against the fuel price increase by the Federal Government, our comrades chose to allow themselves to be used as willing tools to undermine our collective struggle.
It is quite ironic that these comrades can’t see the contradiction between their empty rhetorics on wanting to “fight non-payment of salaries” and collaboration with the state to undermine popular action of the working people and the Nigerian masses.
And yet when congress was in the frontline forcing their home state government(s) to pay workers wages and halt retrenchment of thousands of workers, they were nowhere to be seen.
The congress wish to assure all our members including those of NUEE, NUPENG and others listed as having attended the alleged launch of the new centre, that the NLC will continue to provide protection for them, and will ensure that their leaders do not out of their consuming ambition to be leaders of a ‘national center’ lead them into the wilderness.
In this regards, we will ensure that no one take you away from the NLC without your express democratic consent to do so.
The relevant organ(s) of congress will soon meet to review the latest challenge posed to the unity of our movement. We implore all workers to remain calm!
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni.