Benin- The leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress reared its head in Edo as two factions held parallel 11th Delegates Conferences in Benin on Thursday.
Two factions emerged in the state chapter with Emmanuel Ademokun, returned unopposed from the Ayuba Wabba faction while Eddy Ossai was elected Chairman for the Joe Ajaero faction.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the faction loyal to Ajaero held its conference at the Royal Marble Hotel while the faction loyal to Ayuba Waba conducted its conference at the Da Civic Centre on Airport Road in Benin.
NAN recalls that the national leadership of NLC had on Feb. 11, held a botched conference that resulted in the emergence of factional executives on March 12.
Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo was represented at the Ayuba Wabba faction by the state Commissioner for Labour and Establishment, Didi Adodo, while the governor’s delegation shunned that of Ajaero’s faction.
Speaking at the NLC conference loyal to Wabba, Adodo urged the labour movement to elect leaders that could represent workers’ interests.
There was shouting match between Adodo and some workers when Adodo said the State Government did not owe workers.
Workers of the state owned tertiary institutions and local government employees shouted down the commissioner and insisted that they were being owed several months.
Adodo explained that allocations from the Federal Government had dropped and that local government workers were not employees of the state government.
He said workers of the tertiary institutions were not paid directly from the state government coffers but from subvention paid to management of various institutions.
According to him, “tertiary institution workers are employed by the governing council of the institutions. Oshiomhole has released money to the institutions.
“If your management still owes you, your union leaders should bring the matter up. It is the lot of Oshiomhole to see that you are happy.”
Ademokun later told newsmen that only three unions were loyal to Ajaero faction in the state.
Ademokun said 31 out of 34 unions were present at the Ayuba-faction in the state. He said the other faction would fizzle out after May Day celebration.
Speaking at the inauguration of Ajaero faction executives, Kelly Ogbaloi urged the new executives to fight against casualisation and work towards moving the NLC forward.
The Chairman of Ajaero faction, Ossai, said 16 affiliate unions were present at the conference and urged the state government to be neutral in the NLC crisis.
He said, “Oshiomhole is our father. He should be a father to all groups. He taught us how to deal with issues with or without government’s support.
“Government will not throw us out. They must listen to us.’’ (NAN)