Rivers NLC in crisis over chairperson’s second term ambition

(FILE) Some Union officials

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The Rivers Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has been thrown into crisis over plans by the incumbent chairperson, Beatrice Itubo , to contest for second term, though she has retired from service about six months ago.

Some affiliate unions of the Congress have vowed to seek challenge her ambition in court.

Some labour leaders like Belema Brown, of the Medical and Health Workers Union are also accusing the NLC chairperson of staying beyond her tenure.

According to him, ‘’I don’t think it’s right for Beatrice ITUBO to contest for that seat again. From our records, she retired from service since October 2018. Ordinarily, she is supposed to step aside and allow someone else to preside or set up Electoral committee to conduct this election coming up on the 25th of April.

Aggrieved labour leaders claim that NLC law does not permit a non-serving public servant to occupy the number one position.

Also, Mike IYOWUNA from the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) pointed out that ‘’The labour law does not permit that and there is nowhere we can allow such a thing, since she took over the NLC chairmanship four years ago, the workers are worse off, no promotions, pensioners are suffering, we are stagnated, she should step aside and allow for a fresh elections, we have seen her best and we can’t take her into the future of NLC.”

However, while reacting to their claims, the NLC chairperson Beatrice ITUBO confirmed that she was retired last year and was re-employed by her affiliate union. She, however, urged other members who wish to contest for the NLC chairmanships to do so without causing trouble in the labour movement.

“Rivers state is not the only state in Nigeria where Elections are conducted. Why must we be in the news all the time for the wrong reasons? There is a body saddled with the responsibilities of conducting this election, if they feel I have breached the law, they should take it up with them, election of NLC is for staff and members.”

Itubo cited the example of Adams Oshiomole, who she said was a staff and the General Secretary of a union before he became NLC President.

She claimed that there are so many NLC Presidents that were Secretary Generals of their unions and as such, and it’s not a serious issue.

“People are there pushing them to instigate crisis .If you know you are not popular to win the election go home and relax and if you are popular, every eligible member of NLC is entitled to come out and contest. After the contest if I win I take, if I don’t win, I will congratulate the winner and we will continue to move.

‘’The important thing is that the labour movement will continue to move forward in this state. I want to advise them not to bring back what happened in 2015 again, everybody cannot be in a position at the same time, everybody has a time, if it’s not for you today, tomorrow it might be for you if you are destined to be there, so they should stop all this bickering, I am contesting that election come 25th of April 2019 and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, if the workers say no they will say that with their votes, ’’ she added.