By Bimbola Oyesola
Organised Labour has charged Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to disregard the purported meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Labour Party on Monday, March 29, 2021, in Benin, Edo State, and the outcome of the meeting.
According to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba, Messrs Julius Abure and Farouk Ibrahim were said to have been elected Labour Party’s national chairman and secretary, respectively. The NLC president said the purported meeting and election were in clear violation of the party’s constitution, which recognises the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress as the “platforms” of the party.
He said, “Coupled with this, Article 13 (2) (a) further provides that the presidents and general secretaries of the two central labour organisations (Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress) representing the platforms, the Chairperson of the NLC Women Commission are members of the National Executive Council of and the National Convention of the party. Yet they were excluded from this meeting.”
He noted that the issue goes beyond exclusion as the so-called NEC represents the continuous commission of the subversion of the party and violation of the orders of the court.
Wabba said the consent judgment delivered on March 20, 2018, by Justice Kolawole stated that the Labour Party (though not a trade union), was an institutional political party of Nigerian workers, founded, funded and promoted by Nigerian workers through the central labour organisation, the Nigeria Labour Congress.
“In furtherance of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in INEC vs Musa in which the Supreme Court held: ‘The provisions of section 40 of 1999 Constitution are clear. Their import is to allow every person, including public office holders and civil servants, the freedom to assemble freely and associate with other persons to form or belong to any politica/party, or trade union or any association for the protection of his interests. The section has made no exception and there is no proviso therein limiting its application to civil servants or public officers.
“The court ordered the parties to conduct an expansive and inclusive national convention of the party.
However, serial acts of subversion by Salam (then erstwhile Chairman and now deceased), and Mr Julius Abure (then Acting National Secretary) and a few others in collaboration with some INEC officials frustrated this process.”
The NLC President explained that in the light of the foregoing, the Congress would urge INEC chairman to regard the purported NEC meeting for what it is, “sabotage of the internal party governance, violation of the party constitution and SUBSISTING Court order.”
He insisted that INEC should not validate the meeting or the decisions that arose from the meeting.
He stated, “INEC should reflect and resist the temptation to aid or abet any illegality,
“It should muster the courage to discipline any of its officers found to be complicit or intending to be complicit in the Labour Party affair.”
Wabba said NLC would have protested to the INEC on this matter a long time ago but for the enormous respect it has for the chairman.