Wabba Emerges NLC President amidst Controversy

AKOR EJUMENE observed the drama that characterised the NLC election last Saturday in Abuja and filed in this report.
The President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, was on Saturday morning in Abuja, declared winner of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) election. However, his opponent, Joe Ajaero, has said he will not accept the result. Twenty-three affiliate unions have also rejected the results over alleged malpractices.
But the emergence of Wabba didn’t come without the usual intrigues and manoeuvres associated with election processes in Nigeria.
Contestants from the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), National Union Of Petroleum and Natural gas Workers of Nigeria (NUPENG) and Textile Workers alleged that the election was not transparent and that they would not accept the results.
Signs that the NLC was determined to avoid the hitch that led to the botched delegates conference was evident in the hundreds of security personnel from the State Security Service (SSS), police and others deployed for the election.
Also, the ballot used in the rescheduled election was very different from the one used during the botched conference. Names of all the candidates for a particular position were printed on the same ballot paper.
In the last botched election, names of candidates were printed on different ballot papers which led to allegations that some candidates’ name appeared more than once in a booklet.
Voting started at exactly 5:23 p.m. on Thursday and ended by 3:13 Friday morning. Counting started by 11 p.m. and lasted till Saturday morning.
The retuning officer, Dangiwar Aliyu, who is also the pioneer General Secretary of the NLC, thereafter declared Wabba as winner of the election.
He announced that Wabba polled 1,695 votes of the 3,115 votes, to defeat his main rival, Joe Ajero, from the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) who polled 1,140 votes. Three thousand, one hundred and nineteen delegates from 43 affiliate unions of the NLC were accredited for the election.
A few minutes to 10pm, a mild drama played out as a polling agent of NUEE collapsed, while counting was ongoing. Immediately, some NUEE delegates attempted to run towards where the counting was taking place, but the police swiftly barred them.
For the three Deputy President positions, five contestants jostled. They were Adeyemi Peters, Issa Aremu, Igwe Achese, Sirki Mohammed and Nagem Yasen.
Adeyemi Peters polled 1,604 votes; Issa Aremu polled 1,112 votes; Igwe Achese, 1,283; Sirki Mohammed polled 1,610 votes, while Nagem Yasen polled 1, 818. Thus Adeyemi Peters, Sirki Mohammed and Nagem Yasen emerged as Deputy Presidents.
Signs of controversy became apparent when minutes before the result was announced, Achese, Aremu and Ajaero told journalists they would reject the results.
“I am very disappointed with the way the election was conducted,” Aremu of the Textile Workers Union said, insisting that the process was marred by irregularities.
An equally dissatisfied Achese told journalists he was not satisfied with the process. “I have never seen where NLC election took place for two days and two nights. It is obvious that the process is not transparent and it is not acceptable to us.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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