Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
Two factional executives have emerged from the Nigeria Labour Congress election held, on Tuesday.
The Returning Officer that came from the National Secretariat of NLC, Mr Mike Ike Ene, declared Comrade Ogugua Egwu of ASUU as the duly elected chairman of NLC in the State.
He said Mr Egwu polled a total of 246 votes, while his closest rival, Obasi Bornblessed Uchenna of NANNM, who scored 186 votes.
The third chairmanship contestant, Emmanuel Leonard Mbam of PASAN polled 57 votes.
Others declared winner alongside Comrade Egwu, by the Returning Officer, include: From women Ex-officio, Comrade Ijeoma Basil Kalu representing SSANU, Comrade Oshibe Regina Nwibo representing PASAN was elected Ex-officio; Comrade David Elom Ndubuisi representing the NUT was elected Treasurer.
Others are: Comrade Aligwe Divine Oshim and Comrade Nkwuda Okechukwu Nwode who were elected internal Auditor, Comrade Emmanuel Eze Ekuma of the Medical and Health Workers Union and Comrade Ewa Stanley of NULGE were elected Vice chairpersons.
The election was held at NUT secretariat, Abakaliki, but midway into the declaration of the results at about past 9pm, Comrade Obasi having read the handwriting on the wall, stormed out of the venue with his group.
Briefing Journalists at the NUJ state secretariat, Tuesday night, Comrade Obasi explained that they left the venue because the conduct of the election contravened the electoral guidelines set by the national leadership of the party.
Mr Obasi who rejected the outcome of the election, said they had constituted their own parallel executive until the right thing was done and announced himself as the new Chairman of NLC in the State.
Other members of the parallel executive of NLC, according to Obasi, include: Anthony Oko Ewa- Vice Chairperson 1, Boniface Nwankwo-Vice Chairperson 2, Ejike Nwangwu-Treasurer, Titus Nwali -Auditor 1, Benard Otubo-Auditor 2, Esther Ebere-Exofficio 1, Veronica Osim-Exofficio 2.
Obasi said: “I can say that today would have been a very happy day for all Ebonyi workers in Ebonyi State but it’s unfortunate that the electoral guidelines was sent from the national office to various states and every other state followed the electoral guidelines except Ebonyi State.
“I made calls to other states around 1pm to 2pm today and they all told me that they have finished their elections, because they followed the electoral guidelines, but in our own case, the Electoral Officer actually came but the group that never wanted NLC to have peace in Ebonyi State hijacked everything.
“So, when they were trying to do accreditation, I told them that what they were doing was not in line with the electoral guidelines from the national office. I raised the alarm before everybody in the hall and the Electoral Officer didn’t deem it necessary to follow what the guidelines said.
“What the electoral guidelines said is that one ballot paper will be given to every union and the leader of that Union will cast the votes, writing the number of delegates they have, but Comrade Ikechuku Igwenyi who is not the Returning Officer, went and printed excess ballot papers against the electoral guidelines sent from the national office.
“He was giving it to everybody and didn’t even allow the delegates assigned to every union to participate in the election.
“I met the Returning Officer and told him that this process they are using won’t hold water, but amidst my advice and agitations, they still followed the wrong process and I called my group that we won’t be part of the illegality.
“When politicians conduct flawed elections, Labour condemn it and I don’t expect Labour to conduct election that is far more beyond what politicians do when they conduct elections.
“With that, we won’t allow Labour to die in Ebonyi State, we have come together as workers in Ebonyi State and we have our line-up and we all got the forms from our National leadership and we filled the forms and we have all the positions represented in the line-up and we will continue with Labour until they are ready to do the right thing.
“If they refused to do the right thing, we will remain till they come to do the right thing in Ebonyi State. We are calling on the national president to send someone that’s competent enough, a person that will not be hijacked or sidelined or that will not relegate his position as a returning Officer to someone else to Ebonyi to conduct a fresh election for us.”
But the Returning Officer, Mr Mike Ike Ene, in a chat with Journalists on Wednesday, countered Mr Obasi, saying that the election followed the stipulated guidelines of the National leadership of the Union.
He explained that he was the only electoral officer assigned for the conduct of the election In Ebonyi and any other result outside the one announced by him which has his signature should be disregarded.
According to him, everyone was given a level playing field to test their popularity before Ebonyi workers in the election and that winners have emerged and inaugurated.
On his part, the newly elected chairman, Comrade Ogugua Egwu, said that the election was free, fair and transparent and there was no argument, no smokescreen to say a winner didn’t emerge.
He said: “The essence of this gathering is to tell the world that yesterday, there was a change of baton in the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ebonyi State Council.
“It was done uniformly throughout the states of the Federation and Ebonyi state’s election which held at the state secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Eguogboriga Abakaliki, was very free, fair, and was very transparent and the new leadership has emerged.”
“Clearly, there was no argument, there was no smokescreen to say a winner didn’t emerge. Winners emerged and were constitutionally returned and inaugurated in line with the principles of our union.
“We are aware that some aggrieved members of our union gathered Journalists yesterday and announced themselves winners and returned themselves elected as Chairman and Co.
“I want to categorically state that there was no parallel election, that we were all there at the NUT national secretariat where the election was held. There was no ballot snatching and there was no horse trading. Everything went smoothly.”
Also, the immediate past Chairman of NLC in the State, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor, said everyone was given a level playing field to participate in the election, and further disclosed that five persons from Mr Obasi’s line-up were elected into various positions and urged him to accept defeat and work with the leadership.
The Chairman, credential committee of the election, Comrade Ikechukwu Igwenyi, denied that he hijacked the process and described the allegation as laughable.
He also noted that the election followed all necessary guidelines given by the national leadership of the union.