The Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) on Wednesday said it will remain loyal to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) while pledging commitment to the unity of the association. The union strongly called for immediate dissolution of the United Labour Congress (ULC) which he said was formed by disgruntled elements who failed in their bid to secure leadership of the NLC.
Speaking at an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja, President of the Miners Union, Comr Hamza Mohammad explained that during the politicking that preceded the NLC general elections, the Nigeria Union of Mines Workers had cause to support Mr. Joe Ajero in his bid for the presidency of NLC, but explained that Ajero was defeated in a “free and fair” election, stating that although the NUMW campaigned and wished him victory, but that he was transparently defeated. “The fact that Ajero, who was our candidate, lost the bid will not make us go against the popularly elected candidate,” he said.
“I will work assiduously to ensure that the NLC remains the only umbrella body for the labour movement in Nigeria,” he said, adding that the hasty formation of the “so called United Labour Congress as a parallel body” is not a sign of commitment to the welfare of workers and that it does not mean well for development of trade unionism in Nigeria.
“ULC should cease to exist otherwise the enemies of the labour movement will take advantage of the needless discord.”
When asked to comment on the credibility of the election that brought Comrade Ayuba Wabba to power as incumbent president of NLC, Hamza said: “We saw it all, we were there during the elections and our candidate was defeated,” he stressed, adding that the fact that Ajero was defeated should not be the reason why he should sponsor an agitation that can lead to the division of the NLC.
“We are no longer with him and we call on him to sheathe his sword and get ready to work together with the winner of the elections for the progress of the Nation.”
According to Hamza, the unity of the Nigeria Labour Congress cannot be undermined because of the ambition of any group, adding that Ajero is doing a serious harm to the labour movement in Nigeria.
“Political maturity is very important in any interaction between groups especially the labour movement.”
“We must understand that division among labour leaders can lead to the defeat of the objectives for which labour exists. If we are divided, authorities can take advantage of our disunity to perpetuate injustice against the workforce, so I want NLC to remain one united, indivisible umbrella body of the labour movement in Nigeria.”
According to him, forming a parallel body is a show of weakness, and must be discouraged among labour leaders.
Comrade Hamza called on the President of the NLC, Comr Ayuba Waba to forgive his detractors and continue to work for the unity of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
“I call on Comr Ayuba Waba to continue to exercise political maturity by embracing dialogue initiated after the delegates’ conference,” he added.