A non-governmental organization named Zamfara Concern Citizen for Justice with corporate head office in Gusau had written a counter-petition to the national headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress validating the conduct of the 2023 delegate conference.
In a counter-petition addressed to the National President of the union dated 13th March 2023 the petitioners had strongly objected to the earlier petition written by some aggrieved candidates that participated in the election conducted on the 7th of March 2023 where the seating Chairman of the council was returned elected.
The petition which was signed by the head of Corporate and Organizational Relations of the organisation, Mrs Amina Muhammad Lawal captured some basic arguments that solidly validate the election conducted by the returning officer sent by the National headquarters of the union in Abuja.
The petitioners had earlier complaint to the national headquarters of the labour union challenging the irregularities that characterized the conduct of the exercise and also called for the cancelation of the activity.
But the Zamfara Concern Citizens for Justice had averred that, the petitioners had failed to raise in their petition any provision of the NLC constitution that was in breach or clear point of law that can warrant the cancelation of the election.
Instead, they argued that, the petitioners had emphasized that there are certain activities that constitute the delegate conference which were not fully conducted.
The organization insisted that unless the petitioners were able to provide distinct lines between delegate conference and election as an activity, their argument cannot supersede.
They offered clarification that the delegate conference for the NLC Zamfara was scheduled to take place at the Garba Nadama conference hall, but was shifted to the labour house after realizing that there was an alleged sabotage to frustrate the conduct of the exercise at the designated venue.
They added that, the time for the commencement of the delegate conference had to be shifted for some hours, to allow members to participate in the exercise.
Furthermore, the petitioners explained that though the business session is an integral part of the delegate conference, it could not be conducted hence the officers in charge of the secretariat and financial reports allegedly refused to show up at the venue of the activity and presented the report as required.
The petitioners also reliably gathered that the treasurer and secretary of the NLC Zamfara deliberately refused to show up for the conduct of their last official exercise because they had some misunderstanding with the seating Chairman, whose line up of candidates participating in the election is in collision with their respective interest.
They also stated that, the returning officer Comr Kabiru Yahaya who doubled as the National President of the Aviation union had to put on phone calls to both the secretary and treasurer in the presence of all the delegates to inquire why the officers were not at the venue of the delegate conference but to no avail.
They explained that, the returning officer instead ordered for the continuation of the exercise with the agreement that the officers would be contacted through their respective national bodies to access the reports.
They also stated that (28) out of the (32) affiliate unions were accredited and allow casting their votes using the “proxy” voting strategy as instructed by the National Headquarters of the union.
On the call for the cancelation of the election, the organization insisted that the petition by the aggrieved candidates is mere narratory; hence it lacks substantial stands on the point of law.
They added that what they expected from the petitioners is to cite those sections or articles in the NLC Constitution that were abused and can warrant the cancelation of the election.
In their opinion national delegate conference is an exercise with seven activities under it, noting that election is one out of the several activities expected to be conducted.
On the dangers of excessive political interference on the labour movement in Zamfara the petitioners insisted that, the undue pressure mounted by the Special Adviser Directorate of the Labour Matters constitute a significant threat to the labour movement in Zamfara state.
“Also there were allegations that three hundred number of motorcycle and fifteen million naira were paid to this candidate closer to the governor to allow for rigging the election in their favor before the delegate decided the other way”
The petitioners added that “It will be in the interest of the labour movement in zamfara and for bringing sanity into the movement. Moreover, cancelling the election will amount to creating other serious crisis that may affect the labour movement “.