THERE is clearly a new dimension to the crisis in the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) with conflicting narratives on whether the union held its Quadrennial National Delegates Conference and elected new national officers or held just an organ meeting that appointed “some people to run the affairs of the union” pending the determination of an Appeal Court judgment reserved for delivery any moment between now and 2nd of March 2022.
The union was scheduled to hold its delegates conference on Tuesday, but the General Secretary of NCSU, Comrade Bomoi Mohammed Ibraheem, told National Record on Tuesday that there was no conference in obedience of a judgement of the National Industrial Court (NIC).
Although there are existing two judgements of the NIC as well as a ruling, all of which had nullified the leadership of Comrade Amaechi, but the NCSU scribe was obviously referring to the second judgement, delivered on Thursday, January 13, 2022 by the Honourable Justice Oyebiola O. Oyewumi of the Abuja Division of the NIC which held that Comrade Amaechi and 14 other National Officers of the union have acted, and were still acting, in contempt of the court by their refusal to obey a valid order and Judgment of the NIC.
The first judgement delivered by the Honourable Justice Kado also of the Abuja Division of the NIC had stressed a ruling he gave nullifying not only the election of the leadership of the union that had emerged from its January 25-26, 2018 delegates conference, but also declared null and void all the actions that had been taken under the leadership of Comrade Lawrence Amaechi as National President of NCSU.
While Comrade Ibraheem was denying that the NCSU held its scheduled delegates conference, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in his address before the same forum referred to it as “quadrennial delegates conference.”
When called by National Record and told of an inquiry about the delegates conference, Comrade Ibraheem quickly corrected this reporter saying: “Not my conference, my meeting.” When the reporter further asked if the conference was shifted, the General Secretary said he “didn’t issue any document for conference.”
Upon being reminded that the union had at its NEC meeting late last year scheduled to hold its quadrennial delegates conference on January 25, 2022, which happened to be yesterday (Tuesday), Comrade Ibraheem, in his reply, explained by giving reasons bothering on the NIC judgement.
“You know, I have a court judgement that brought back one of my secretaries and also said that the regime of Amaechi is illegal. I called the owners of the union in the presence of the Director of Labour and the Head of Service and NLC President to brief them. I briefed them and they said Amaechi and his team should go and leave their union; that I should bring back my colleague. In that respect, they also appointed some people to run the affairs of the union for them, and that is exactly what we did; I did not issue any document for conference, I did not issue any banner, I did not issue any paper.”
Our correspondent then asked the General Secretary which of the organs of the union met to take those decisions; he said: “All of them combined, all the delegates came from the states. We did NEC, they mandated a committee to select some people for them.
“We threw it before them and they all answered in the affirmative in the presence of Director of Labour. So, I am going to issue a statement later. Amaechi was only there, he did not open his mouth, he did not preside; I presided with the Director of Labour and NLC President. He [Amaechi] didn’t say a word; not a word because God has removed him from office and as a law-abiding union, we must comply and in complying, we removed him, we gave somebody the mantle of leadership to carry our union and the powers vested in me as the General Secretary, I exercised.”
When further told that available information indicate that the union had appealed the last judgement, Comrade Ibraheem said: “We appealed but the lawyer to the complainant wrote to me about what they obtained from the court. After our appeal, we said okay, I replied him to say that we have seen his request as a fallout of the court judgement and I am willing to comply by informing the owners of the union. The owners of the union said if we remove Amaechi, if we recall back our colleague, there was no need we go for appeal again. If we have complied, what are you appealing for?”
When told that the appeal papers have been filed at the Court of Appeal, the General Secretary said: “I told his lawyer that we will inform the organ of the union and I have informed them. Now it is for our lawyers and his lawyer to do the needful.”
But NLC President, who came into the conference very late, and at the tail end of the activities when the list of the new national officers was being read out to delegates, referred to gathering in his address as “quadrennial delegates conference.”
Comrade Wabba said: “I bring you very warm fraternal greetings from the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress on the occasion of your quadrennial delegates conference. I count it a rare privilege to address you this afternoon, and I must start by apologising for coming a bit late. I came late because you know the issues, comrades, that we are trying to engage…, so we had to have a meeting of the National Executive Council of the NLC which started by 11:30am and it is at the end of that meeting that I have to rush here.
“Delegates conference as you are aware, is the highest organ of every of our unions, and your union will not be an exception. It is where we look at the issue of the progress of the union in the last four years, and importantly, it is also here that you are going to elect leadership, and I want to believe that it will be rancour free; it will bring about unity, it will bring about synergy and the union will go from strength to strength,” Comrade Wabba said.
The new leadership
The new leadership that was announced at the gathering, which held at Green Minds Hotel Abuja, include former Deputy President of the union and current Ondo State Chairperson of the NLC, Comrade Sunday Oluwale Adeleye (President); Comrade Jibrin Dauda Bancir, who maintained his position of Deputy President and Comrade Okechukwu Ogumba, who was announced as Deputy President although absent but said to be on his way.
Others are Comrade Sa’ad Garba, National Treasurer, Comrade Sanifa Ahmed Ohiko, National Vice President, North-Central; Comrade Bukar Mamman, National Vice President, North-East; Comrade Ismaila Abdullahi Gadabi, National Vice President, North-West, Comrade Jerome C. Ofoegbu, National Vice President, South-East, Comrade Alice Otrema, National Vice President South-South and Comrade Peaceman Horsefall, National Auditor.
National Regard gathered that this year’s conference was not only exceptional in the view of the controversy trailing it, it was also uniquely so in the speed at which it was held as every activity including the election of the leadership was conducted under three hours. Normally, delegates conferences of unions, especially big unions like the NCSU, take at least a whole day or two.