Resign if you’re desperate to replace Abure, LP replies Ajaero

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The leadership crisis rocking the Labour Party took a different dimension on Saturday after the National Working Committee of the opposition party accused the National President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, of desperately seeking to replace its National Chairman, Julius Abure.

The allegation was a response to an open letter written on Friday by the political wing of the NLC, the Nigeria Labour Congress Political Commission.

In the letter jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the commission, Titus Amba and Chris Uyot, Abure and the NWC were accused of proposing a ‘secret’ national convention in Umuahia, Abia State capital on March 27 that will re-elect Abure to continue running the Labour Party as a ‘sole administrator.’

While stating that the circular was passed without the input of stakeholders, especially the NLC, the letter also alleged that Abure had in April 2023 tried to extend his tenure in office by two years unilaterally but was stopped at the instance of the party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who insisted that the right thing be done.

Describing the planned convention as illegal, the political wing of the NLC called for the immediate resignation of Abure as the party chairman and the constitution of a caretaker transition committee to organise a legitimate and all-inclusive national convention for the party.

But the leadership of LP kicked against the directive which it claimed was being orchestrated by Ajaero over his alleged ambition to become the next national chairman of the party.

Reacting in a statement titled ‘Resign as NLC President to Contest LP Chairmanship, Labour Party advises Joe Ajero,’ the National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifoh, said the leadership of the party will not take order from unionists who are not card-carrying members of their party.

Ifoh also stated that the said national convention planned to be held in Umuahia on March 27 will go on as planned.

He said, “The attention of the leadership of the Labour Party has been drawn to a press 4elease titled ‘A misadventure in political mischief, mismanagement and misdemeanour gone too far’ written by the NLC’s Political Commission as an agent of the Nigeria Labour Congress. The NLC letter did not come to us as a surprise or a shock. It was long expected before now, having known that the NLC was going to engage itself in this misadventure.

“Nigerians will recall that in 2014, NLC has been involved in a war of blackmail and attrition against the Labour Party and its leadership. It was only recently, following the civil and diplomatic approach adopted by Julius Abure when he assumed leadership that he was able to get the then President of the NLC, Ayuba Waba, and the then President of the Trade Union Congress, Olaleye Quadri, to a truce where the NLC, TUC and Labour Party agreed to work together in harmony.

“Unfortunately, the rascality of the current president of the NLC, Joe Ajero, has destroyed the successes already recorded. It must be noted that the NLC and its political commission have become a bundle of contradiction and paradox. The Nigeria Labour Congress has written several letters to the Independent National Electoral Commission and to the party on the need to conduct a national convention.”

The LP spokesman stated that the leadership of the party eventually yielded to the agitation for the national convention, which was fully backed by Article 14:4b of the party Constitution.

Ifoh added that if the NLC president and his loyalists are not satisfied with the provision, Ajaero should be advised to quit his position and officially join the race to wrest power from Abure.

He however urged the unionists to consider becoming members of the party at ward level as genuine politicking starts from the grassroots.

“At this point, the leadership of the party wants to ask the NLC, what exactly do they want? If Joe Ajero is interested in the leadership of the party, he is therefore advised to resign as the President of the NLC and join in the contest for the National Chairmanship of the party that is scheduled for the convention on the 27th of March, 2024.

“We have advised the NLC before now that party politics is played at the ward level and not at the national level. If NLC is interested in taking the leadership of the party, it should go and engage in the mass mobilisation of its members to join the party at the grassroots. It will shock Nigerians to know that members and officials of the NLC are not even card-carrying members of the Labour Party. All over the country, NLC members are supporting either the APC or the PDP.

“We must note that undue interference by the Nigeria Labour Congress on the affairs of the party has become worrisome and it has become needful to emphasise here the distinction that the Labour Party has a life of its own different from that of the Nigeria Labour Congress. We therefore want to advise the NLC and its commission that it should focus only on its statutory responsibilities of defending the workers and the workers’ rights.

“In conclusion, we note that the Labour Party will be going ahead with our party programmes and our convention will be held. We have consulted with our stakeholders and the consultation is ongoing and we will continue to consult until March 27 when the new leadership of the party will emerge,” he stated.