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NLC Election: Main contender, Ajaero, rejects result

The Nigeria Labour Congress on Saturday elected Ayuba Wabba of the Medical and Health Workers Union as its new national president.

Mr. Wabba defeated his only opponent, Joe Ajero of the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees during a re-scheduled polled held in Abuja on Friday.

The outcome of the poll, announced early Saturday, has been disputed by Mr. Ajaero, who has declared its intention to contest the outcome of the election.

Other members of the new national executive, taking over from the out-going executive led by Wahab Omar, include Peters Adeyemi, Najeem Yasin and Kiri Mohammed as deputy Presidents.

The three vice-Presidents are Asugbuni Amaechi, Dusunma Lawal and Oyelekan Lateef, while Boniface Isok was elected the Congress Trustee, and Sefiyav Mohammed, Financial Secretary.

The auditors included Anchaver Simeon, Leke Success and Yemisi Gbamgbose, while the ex-Officio officers are Amina Damesi and Comfort Oko.

The rescheduled election was held after the previous one held at the end of the national delegates’ conference between February 8 and 11, 2015 ended in fiasco.

But, the election did end without its fair share of intrigues as the two camps pulled fought to secure the support of 3,119 delegates from the 43 affiliate industrial unions.

Mr. Ajaero’s camp, made up of mostly delegates from the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, and Textile workers, allege that the election was not transparent and the outcome unacceptable.

To avoid the circumstances that led to the previous exercise ending in crisis, the national secretariat of the Congress had hundreds of security personnel, including operatives of the State Security Service, police and the National Security Defence Commission were deployed to the venue of the election.

The organisation of the rescheduled election was different from the botched exercise in February, as only the names of all the candidates for a particular position were printed on each ballot paper.

Voting, which started at exactly 5:23 p.m. on Thursday, did not end till about 3:13 a.m. on Friday morning, while counting of the ballot commenced by 11a.m. till the early hours of Saturday.

The result announced at the end of counting showed that Mr. Wabba pulled 1,695 votes, while Mr. Ajaero polled 1,140 votes.

The election was between Mr. Wabba and Mr. Ajaero after the third candidate, the President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Igwe Achese, pulled out before the commencement of voting during the botched election in February.

Mr. Wabba was the President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, while Mr. Ajaero was the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees.

Prior to the re-scheduled election, there were allegations that the exercise was holding amid a number of unresolved issues that characterised the previous poll.

The General Secretary of the congress, Peter Ozo-Eson, said a total of 3,119 delegates were qualified to participate in the conference to elect the president and other members of the executive.

Among the 43 unions, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, which nominated Mr. Wabba, controlled the bulk of the delegates (526), while NUEE, which sponsored Mr. Ajaero candidacy had 471 delegates.

The Nigeria Union of Teachers had the third highest number of delegates (383), with the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions having 210 delegates; the Nigeria Union of Local Government employees 187 delegates, and National Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, 182 delegates.

Other unions included the Nigeria Civil Service Union (131); the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (123) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (91) delegates.

The National Association of Academic Technologists; Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria; Nigeria Welders and Fitters Association, and Nigeria Union of Mine Workers had with six delegates each.

There were also the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union; Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic and Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions, with five delegates each.

To be able to tip the support base of the delegates in their favour, the two presidential candidates aligned and re-aligned with various affiliate unions.

Mr. Wabba’s camp was said to have gotten the upper hand after it successfully wooed most of the unions with the largest delegation to its side.

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