Factionalism In NLC Will Be Resolved In Abuja – Akporeha | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Factionalism In NLC Will Be Resolved In Abuja – Akporeha

Posted: Jul 17, 2015 at 12:50 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Comrade Williams Akporeha is Chairman of the Comrade Joe Ajaero-led faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Delta State. In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH, Comrade Akporeha reacts to allegations made recently by the state Chairman of NULGE, Comrade David Ofoyeno, who is also the factional state Chairman of the Ayuba Wabba wing of the NLC. He also gives an insight into the NLC crisis, his plans for the state workforce, as well as his support for the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa administration. Excerpts…  

It has been reported that Comrade David Ofoyeno, the state Chairman of NULGE and your rival on the other side of NLC leadership divide, has said that there is no splinter group of NLC in Delta state, and that he is the only NLC Chairman in the state. 



I am not surprised coming from a man of his nature. However, his words and conduct so far fall short of the qualities of a leader, the code of belief of trade unionism and a thorough understanding of the issues at stake within the Nigeria Labour Congress at the moment and at the national level. Now, let me briefly situate things in their proper perspective for the benefit of all stakeholders, including the man who made these unfounded allegations. You will recall that the National Leadership of the NLC was thrown into disagreement since February when the NLC failed twice to organise its national delegate’s election acceptable to all the affiliate industrial unions in February and March this year. Since then, the NLC has been torn into two parallel lines at the national and state levels with Comrade Ayuba Wabba still claiming National President in a controversial election that held in Abuja where majority of the affiliate industrial unions opposed to the obvious electoral manipulations immediately rejected the outcome. This led to another national special delegates’ congress election that held in Lagos where Comrade Joe Ajaero, was elected as National President in protest of the illegality of Ayuba Wabba’s claim. Again, the NLC state congresses that held across the country on April 23rd received directives from both secretariats where the state factions have affinity. It was the same scenario in Delta state where majority of the affiliate trade unions opposed to Ayuba Wabba’s faction, stayed away from their election and choose to organise a legitimate congress in Warri that was supervised by national officials with a mandate from the leadership of Comrade Joe Ajaero’s national secretariat. It is on record that over 30 affiliate industrial unions in Delta state identified and participated in the delegates’ congress election that returned me unopposed as Delta state NLC council Chairman for a second term. These are verifiable facts and it couldn’t have been any better. So, it is clear to everyone to discern between David Ofoyeno and myself who is fit and properly recognised as the Delta State NLC Chairman.


With this state of disagreements, how is the state NLC secretariat being managed? 

Well, very typical of those whose stock in trade is to destroy, the David Ofoyeno group invaded Labour House, Asaba, vandalized the doors, locks and keys, threw away my official files and documents as well as my personal effects, including photographs, and are now forcefully occupying the place. This is contrary to and below the expectation of someone who is playing leadership role. An attitude to hijack and monopolise the secretariat is uncalled for and barbaric. But because it seems they are enjoying patronage of the some highly placed persons, David Ofoyeno, who couldn’t years ago careless about workers welfare in NULGE got so intoxicated now to call out local government workers on strike with a view to frustrate and compel the Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration to inherit industrial unrest in the state. Again, I am not surprised. But let me make it known with emphasis that any time soon, when I want to hold meetings with stakeholders or receive visitors in the Labour House, David Ofoyeno cannot stop me.


So, what are your plans for Delta state workers in this circumstance? 

As you already know, there are challenges facing us even as a congress. It is however unfortunate that a lot of the issues on our check list such as pension arrears and other payments, primary school teachers issues, outstanding 2014, 13th  month salary payment for public sector workers and casual staffing in both public and private sectors among other issues affecting congress members in other affiliate unions which were not completely addressed. But we are poised this time around to tackle them head on with the support and strong partnership with the incoming government of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.


 What do you think can be the way out of the NLC leadership impasse? 

Well, as I mentioned earlier, this whole thing is being driven by the national secretariat of the two factions. I am aware that discussions are presently going on at the national level to find acceptable and lasting solution to the issues and once this is achieved, the resolutions will cascade down to the state levels for compliance in the same manner that directives were received during the state congresses. I must add that I am very optimistic that the issues will soon be resolved and we will have one indivisible NLC again.


You have worked for four years with the outgoing government of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, what are the expectations of Congress under your leadership from the government of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa? 

Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, (CON) has played his part and I must on behalf of Congress commend him for his modest achievements. We know that as human beings, all issues cannot be resolved and this is why government is said to be a continuum. Congress is however very happy that His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is handing over to someone who is known to labour especially as he rose from the ranks to where he is today. Congress is indeed very proud of Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa’s antecedents in governance as someone who started as a grassroots leader, served in his local government in different capacities before rising to the fore at the state as two times civil commissioner, then Secretary to State Government, a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic and now the Executive Governor of Delta state. For us this means experience as well as knowledge of the nature of workers needs and aspirations. Therefore, our expectations are high and we trust that he is going to surpass Dr. Uduaghan’s achievements in terms of labour and industrial relations issues.