At least 15 unions affiliated with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Edo state have publicly distanced themselves from the appointment of Odion Olaye as council chairman. According to a press release issued by the unions and made available to journalists on Sunday, the delegate conference held on March 7, 2023, was an illegal act held in defiance of an ongoing case in the National Industrial Court in Abuja challenging the process and procedure of the conference.
The unions had earlier submitted a petition to the national secretariat through the General Secretary, alleging that Olayede had disrupted the composition of the Screening Committee and nomination of delegates to the state conference, in contravention of the Congress's constitution.
Despite the filing of a complaint about the infringement of the constitutional clause governing the NLC state conference and election at the National Industrial Court in Abuja, the NLC National Secretariat, President, and Secretary General proceeded with the election in contempt of the ongoing lawsuit.
The protesting affiliate unions claimed that the state government interfered in the election process, with its open support for Olaye, and by intimidating and harassing public sector workers with threats of posting to rural areas or dismissal if they refused to declare their support for Olaye. During the state conference, PDP candidates for the House of Assembly were brought in to campaign, which would have turned the gathering into a political rally if the delegates had not refused.
When one of the chairperson candidates was disqualified, chaos erupted at the conference, with delegates fleeing for safety as thugs unleashed violence on the gathering. The Returning Officer failed to hear inquiries about the disqualification, and more than 90% of delegates and 15 unions left the premises.
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