Why We Put off Delegates Conference Till Feb 2023 – Food Union

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File Photo: L-R, Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, Mr. George Polymenakos; Comrade Oyelekan and Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Ngige, during the inauguration of the second phase of the Food Union Hotels and Suites, Lagos.

THE National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) has officially announced the postponement of its quadrennial national delegates conference initially scheduled to be held on undisclosed dates this month.

Comrade Mike Olanrewaju, NUFBTE’s General Secretary, in a letter to all principal national officers, all state officers of the union said the shift became ‘inevitable’ due to “an extreme and unforeseen expedients.

The letter dated 2nd December, 2022, with reference number NUF/NHS/GS/VOL.1/301 and entitled: “11th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference (Notice of Slight Adjustment)” reads:

“In furtherance of our letter dated 8th September, 2022 on the above subject matter, we are unavoidably constrained to inform you about the inevitable slight shift in the date earlier scheduled for the Conference.

“The reasons for this inevitable slight shift in the date scheduled for the Conference is not far-fetched, it is attributable to an extreme and unforeseen expedients [sic] namely: –

“1) Unexpected delay in supply and installation of the Hotel Elevator by the manufacturer owing to global supply chain and maritime challenges.

“2) Delay in completion of the Multi-purpose Event Hall (The Venue for hosting the conference), resulting from Government Regulatory’s Approval delay [sic].

“Consequently, the National Administrative Committee (NAC) has met and extensively reviewed the impact of the above delays on the effective and efficient hosting of the Conference as earlier scheduled, going forward therefore, consequently resolved to effect slight shift in the dates for the Events of the Conference now as follow: – [sic]

“(1) Arrival of NAC Members & Special Invited Guest – 31st January, 2023

“(2) Opeing of the New Hotel & Special Book Launching – 1st February, 2023

“(3) Arrival of NEC Members – 1st February, 2023

“(4) NEC meeting and special awards night – 2nd February, 2023

“(5) Arrival of National Delegates members – 2nd February, 2023

“(6) National Delegates Conference & Gala Night – 3rd February, 2023

“(7) Departure for everyone – 4th February, 2023

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience that this slight changes [sic] might have caused you.

“Wishing you all merry Christmas and happy New Year 2023 celebration.”

Union members not surprised

While the postponement may come as a surprise to outsiders, members of the union, particularly activists under the aegis of Redemption Group, have some weeks ago predicted that the conference was not going to hold as Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, the president of NUFBTE, was determined to cling to power.

Comrade Abadom Lawrence Amechi, a member of the Redemption Group, told National Record in an exclusive interview, that Comrade Oyelekan was not ready to go.

“The illegal two years he got in the midnight conference of August 21st, 2020, will end in December 2022, but he is not yet ready to go. He is planning a kangaroo conference scheduled for December 9th 2022 with lots of hidden agenda,” stated Comrade Amechi.

He added: “A conference that is less than one month, nobody has been allowed to pick nomination form. He has plotted so many gimmicks. One, he is trying to tinker with the constitution to find a way to smuggle in a law that will put him in charge of all the union’s assets and businesses.

“Two, he is banking on the Registrar of Trade Unions, who we know is his very good friend, to get through with his evil and undemocratic plans. It will be difficult for Oyelekan to leave NUFBTE.

“Three, he wants to hold on to the union’s assets and businesses which are already under the tight control and management of members of his family – his wife, children, siblings, cousins and retinue of women friends. He therefore desperately intends to hold on because he knows that if he steps aside from the office of the president without protecting himself constitutionally, another president will certainly not allow him to continue to exert control. So, he is seeking a constitutional arrangement that will still empower him to be in control of the union’s assets and business ventures after retirement.”

Comrade Oyelekan was elected president of NUFBTE in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, for his first tenure in office on January 11, 2008. Before his election, he had served one term of four years as deputy president from 2004.

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