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NLC CRISIS GETS MESSIER

By NBF News
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Slowly, but steadily, the crisis of confidence rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), is taking its toll on its image. The man in the eye of the storm, its sacked General Secretary, Comrade John Odah, has put in over two decades in the service of the country's number one labour movement.?

Until early this year, he enjoyed the best of relationship with the NLC's President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar. Things fell apart when Odah was suspected to be supporting one of the then vice presidents' ambition, at a point when there was a near consensus that Omar should be given another term.?

The NLC last Monday, placed a disclaimer in one of the Abuja-based newspapers. The disclaimer forced Odah to also address a press conference same day: 'I have taken this rather painful decision to brief you today against the backdrop of the unrelenting onslaught of the Omar leadership of the NLC, against me.?

'Soon after the end of the 10th Delegates' Conference of Congress which held from March 1-3, 2011, the new leadership which emerged from this conference at its very first meeting sent me on forced leave, with effect from March 18, 2011, without a date of resumption. This gave rise to a series of correspondence between the NLC President and myself.

At the inaugural meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the congress, on May, 24, 2011, the Omar leadership got the NEC to purportedly terminate my appointment on the spurious and ridiculous allegation that I was running a parallel secretariat of the NLC while on leave.? I have done a comprehensive memo to the NEC of the NLC on why the alleged termination of my appointment cannot and must not stand. Before this, I have written to formally reject the termination to the president of the NLC.'

'I understand that the Omar leadership in pursuit of its determination to 'crush' me, decided to take up paid adverts in both the print and electronic media to do a disclaimer on my person. By Friday last week, this had been put up on the NLC website. More, I am told, are to come.?

'Let me state very categorically that the effort of Omar and his group to 'demonise' and 'criminalise' me will fail ultimately, as truth is very stubborn and no matter how long and hard you try to hide it, eventually, always comes out. The current set of people directing the circus of harassment/intimidation and victimisation against me and orchestrating it in the public domain is doing so much damage and disservice to the cause of the working people of this country. Unfortunately for us all, they are too blinded by their desperation and ruthless desire to deal with me, to see the larger picture.

'I was never accused of any wrong doing for which my appointment has been purportedly terminated. Even if it can be assumed that any accusations were made, I was never made to answer the charges before my accusers.? As a labour movement whose primary job is the defence of the rights of workers, we cannot be seen whether privately or in the eyes of the public to dispense so brazenly and crudely, with the services of any officer of the NLC. This applies even more when that officer is the General Secretary of the NLC. If your action which breaches the elementary rules of 'due process' and 'right to fair hearing' is sustained and allowed to stand, it will become impossible for the NLC, any workers' organisation, and indeed any worker in Nigeria to respond when our class opponents in the form of various employers - either private or public - unilaterally and crudely dispense with the services of workers in their employment.

'Your decision to terminate my appointment is therefore clearly unacceptable to me. It is not only unjust and mean, but most certainly violates all known norms of decency, justice and fairness. It is aimed at destroying my career, my record of great service