THE Northern Forum of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) has stated in clear terms that it will not be a party to any action or directives from the union until its retired National President, Comrade Lawrence Amaechi, quits the union.
In similar but differently worded letters addressed to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and General Secretary of NCSU, Comrade Bomoi Mohammed Ibraheem, the Northern Forum called for the urgent intervention of the NLC and the NCSU National Secretariat “to save the union from total collapse.”
In the letter to the NLC President, signed by Comrade Zailani I. Kofarbai, Chairman of the Forum (and Chairman, Katsina State Council), Comrade Muhammadu Buhari, the Forum’s Treasurer (and Chairman, Gombe State Council), and Comrade Felix B. Ibi, Secretary to the Forum (and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council), the Northern Forum told the NLC President that in line with the constitution of the union Comrade Amaechi has lost eligibility to be either a member of the union or preside over any organ meeting.
The letter entitled; “Notice of Retirement of Comrade Lawrence Amechi [sic] from the Federal Civil Service and the Urgent Need to Vacate Office of the President of Nigeria Civil Service Union Immediately,” reads:
“Above refers, the Northern Forum of the union met with great dismay and reviewed recent happening [sic] in the union and the need for your urgent intervention to save the union from total collapse. The union had been entangled in series of litigations for the past five years, and this has affected the union negatively.
“From the forgoing and having considered the issues at stake, we submit the following for your intervention –
“i. Comrade Lawrence Amechi [sic] had retired from the Federal civil on the 8th September 2021, and by virtue of the union constitution, Rule 4a(i) ELIGIBILITY OF MEMBERSHIP – members of the union shall be drawn from the public service of the federal and state.
“He ceases to be a member of the union and as such should immediately vacate office as the president of the union. Any action or decision taken by him from 8th September 2021 for or on behalf of the union is null and void.
“ii. Nigeria Labour Congress should not henceforth recognize Comrade Lawrence Amechi as the President of Nigeria Civil Service Union.
“iii. We equally want your involvement in a smooth transition as provided in the union constitution, for one of the deputies to be appointed as Acting President before National Delegates Conference coming up on the 25th January 2022.
“iv. The forum is in urgent need of your intervention in the union now more than ever before to save it from disintegration and collapse.
“v. Finally, we wish to inform you that the forum will not be a party to any action or directives from the union until Comrade Lawrence Amechi exits the union, counting on your timely intervention.”
In the letter to NCSU’s General Secretary, entitled; “Resolution of Northern Forum of Nigeria Civil Service Union on the Retirement of Comrade Lawrence Amechi [sic] from Federal Civil Service on the 8th September 2021 and the Urgent Need to Vacate Office as President of the Union, the Forum urged Comrade Ibraheem to save the union from further illegality.
The three signatories; Comrades Kofarbai, Buhari and Ibi, said the Northern Forum of the union resolved, among others, that Comrade Amaechi being no longer a member of the union having retired from the public service of the federation on the 8th September 2021 should “vacate the office of the President of the union immediately” as “any action or decision taken with him as president of the union is a nullity.”
The letter reads: “It has become necessary to intimate you on critical decisions taken by the Northern Forum to salvage this union from total collapse, recall that the union had been battling with series of litigations for the past five years which have adversely affected the progress of the union, and any further illegality should be avoided to save the face of the oldest trade union amongst the comity of trade unions in Nigeria.
“In view of the above the forum had resolved as follows –
“i. In compliance with Rule 4a(i) MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY, Comrade Lawrence Amechi [sic] is no longer a member of the union having retired from the public service of the Federation on the 8th September 2021.
“He should therefore vacate the office of the president of the union immediately, and any action or decision taken with him as president of the union is a nullity.
“ii. Although the NEC meeting of 29 October 2021 [sic] had allowed him to serve out to 25 January 2022, we view that as an illegality that cannot supersedes [sic] the supremacy of the union constitution. More so he is not supposed to preside over any organ meeting therefore should be disregarded [sic].
“iii. The General Secretary should immediately convene an organ meeting to appoint the serving deputy president from the South as acting President to complete the tenure to 25th January 2022.
“This is because Comrade Lawrence Amechi [sic] who is not a member and cannot preside over any activity of the union more so the forthcoming delegates conference of the union.
“iv. The forum as a matter of urgency is urging the General Secretary and the National Secretariat not to entertain any further directives from Comrade Lawrence Amechi as the President of the union.
“v. Violation of agreement reached during the council of state meeting held at Abuja as part of forming a single line-up for the next delegate conference and the Benue Impasse, this is viewed as an attempt to destroy and misinterpreted the union constitution for personal interest.
“Rule 4a(i) & 5a(i&ii) of the union constitution and the scheme of service of the Federation clearly defined the eligibility of membership vis-à-vis financial obligations and elective offices of the union, and the provision of executive political appointees in the scheme of service.
“It is the highest level of constitutional disregard to orchestrate such act of allowing someone that had not been a member for nine (9) months as a result of executive political appointment to return as an officer of the union. The National Secretariat had surrender its responsibilities of interpreting the constitution of the union to a organ at the state level [sic].
“Finally, until the above are complied with, the forum will not be a party to any activities or directives of the union, until Comrade Lawrence Amechi exists [sic] the union.
“Counting on your timely intervention to save and rebuild the union.”
Both letters were copied all Northern Chairmen of the union, the Deputy National President representing Northern zone and the Chairman of the union’s Council of State.
Chairman, Council of State confirm letter as NLC, NCSU keep mum
When contacted Thursday afternoon via telephone, the NCSU scribe quickly responded by sms that he was in in “a meeting on our members’ welfare at MI of Trade and Investment. We talk later.”
Although questions on the issue were immediately sent to Comrade Bomoi via sms and WhatsApp, he however did not respond to them as at press time.
Similarly, inquiries sent to NLC President, Comrade Wabba, and NLC’s Acting General Secretary, Comrade Ismail Bello, were not responded to as at press time.
But Comrade Kabiru Inuwa, the Chairman of Chairmen of NCSU State Councils, otherwise known as Council of State, confirmed receipt of a copy of the letter from the Northern Forum.
Comrade Inuwa however stated that there was at the moment no need for mediation by the Council of State, which he said is after all an informal body unknown to the constitution of the union, constituted with the intention to play advisory role to the National Administrative Council (NAC) of the union.
He stated that while the concern raised by the Northern Forum about the illegality of the NEC resolution of September 29, 2021 was right, the decision was purely on the ‘doctrine of necessity’ to save the union from continued crisis.
Comrade Inuwa also said the onus of what next to do under the circumstance lies with the General Secretary as the Chief Executive of the union depending on his interpretation of the letter; and which organ he feels ought to handle the matter or if it is an issue that could be resolved at the level of the national secretariat.
“I am sure the GS [General Secretary] will act according to the union’s constitutional provisions. He may decide to summon any organ of the union to discuss the letter or he may decide to reply them. He may even say what they said is constitutionally not right and that the union’s constitution provides this and that. So for these reasons, I doubt if the Council of States will have any input. It is rather in the role of the General Secretary to resolve this matter,” Comrade Inuwa stated.