Ahead of the general elections, speculations are rife that the Nigerian Labour Congress may not be able to effect a change of guard anytime soon as its 11th National Delegates Conference was on Thursday was abruptly disrupted as aggrieved parties hijacked, and smashed ballot boxes meant for the election of incoming leaders of the organization.
The election for new executives for the labour body was not expected to attract such violence, even though the election for the position of president of the union had created tension among delegates and split them along partisan lines.
There are speculations that the two dominant parties in the country may be behind the melee, owing to their interest in who occupies the seat of president of the NLC, which is the umbrella body of workers in the country.
This is more so, given that the leader of workers in the country wields a lot of influence among workers, and has the capacity to sway their support in any direction he so wishes.
While voting was ongoing, some aggrieved contestants and their supports suddenly became violent, hijacking and destroying ballot boxes, and papers throwing the International Conference Centre venue into confusion.
Delegates had to run for their lives following the confusion that erupted, prompting the police to take over the venue, while the delegates were sent away, ostensibly to protect the facility from being vandalised.
Labour leaders reconvened at the NLC headquarters in the Central Business District of Abuja for a meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m., aimed at resolving the logjam. Outcome of that meeting is still being expected.
Three candidates had put themselves forward to succeed President Waheed Omar.
They are the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Joe Ajaero; the National President of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Igwe Achese; and National President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria Ayuba Wabba.
For the three deputy president positions, the Non Academic Staff Union is putting forward its General Secretary, Peter Adeyemi, while the General Secretary, National Union of Textiles, Issa Aremu, is contesting unopposed, along with the National President, Nigeria Civil Service Union, Kiri Mohammed.
-For more details as they unfold, stay with Ripples
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