Federal Government, NLC Meet to Avert Strike; NLC rejects membership in Presidential Inauguration Committee

No Comments » May 15th, 2007 posted by // Categories: General Articles



 

TRIBUNE

 

FG, labour leaders meet to avert workers strike

Soji-Eze Fagbemi, Abuja – 15.05.2007

THE Federal Government is meeting with the leadership of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) today over the issue of 15 per cent salary increase which the government has suspended.

This is even as strong indication emerged that the government was likely to succumb to labour’s demands.

The Federal Government quickly summoned an emergency meeting with the unions last Thursday following the commencement of a series of rallies to protest against a government circular, which stopped the implementation of the 15 per cent salary increase as contained in the government White Paper.

After what the chairman of the JNPSNC, Mr. Olakunle Olaitan, described as a successful meeting, the government directed the council to come up with a memo that detailed their position on the issue and make it available for proper consideration.

According to Olaitan, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune late last night, the JNPSNC had submitted the memo to the government last Friday which its representatives are already considering.

On the expectation of the council at today’s meeting, Olaitan said the council expected the government side to come up with a concrete solution to the issue, adding that the expectation was that the issue raised would be adequately addressed, “to the satisfaction of all.”

Nigerian Tribune learnt that the government side might yield to workers’ demand as they had commended the labour leaders on their understanding and expressed satisfaction at their conduct.

It was learnt that the government side would have accepted the position of the labour during last week’s meeting but for certain development.

Meanwhile, the NLC has rejected an offer from the Federal Government to serve on the 2007 presidential inauguration ceremonies committee.

In a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Ufot Ekaette, yesterday, the congress turned down the offer to participate in the committee because of its position that any government formed based on what it called the flawed election would be illegal.

The congress said that participating in the committee would be inconsistent with its position that the election was a conquest of the electorate’s will rather than a free contest by candidates.

The Federal Government had in a letter dated 9 May, 2007 and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Political, I. B. Sali, for the SGF, invited the President of the NLC, Abdulwaheed Omar, to be part of the committee and requested his attendance at its next meeting.

But a letter dated May 14, 2007 and signed by Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde for the NLC General Secretary, said: “Your letter of 9 May, 2007 (Ref. No. Pic/2007/SEC. 1/15) requesting the NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, to serve on the 2007 Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies Committee refers.

“I am directed to inform you of NLC’s rejection of the Federal Government’s offer to participate in the committee.

“As you know, our position is that the 2007 presidential elections was fundamentally flawed and that any government formed based on it would be illegitimate. Participating in the 2007 Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies Committee would, therefore, be inconsistent with the position of our organs.”

 

 PUNCH

NLC rejects membership of Yar‘Adua’s inauguration committee


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By Everest Amaefule, Abuja

 

Published: Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Nigeria Labour Congress on Monday declined to serve on the presidential committee for the inauguration of the President-elect, Alhaji Umar Yar‘Adua, and the new civilian government.

In a statement issued by Mr. Olainde Oyerinde for the General Secretary in Abuja and made available to our correspondent, the labour congress said serving on the committee would contradict its stand on the April poll.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, had on May 9, invited the NLC President, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, to serve on the committee which is expected to coordinate activities for the handover to a new government on May 29.

Oyerinde said, ”Our position is that the 2007 presidential election was fundamentally flawed, and that any government formed based on it would be illegitimate.

”Participating in the 2007 presidential inauguration ceremony committee would, therefore, be inconsistent with our organisation’s stand.”

The NLC had called for the removal and prosecution of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu, over alleged mismanagement of the electoral process in April.

It had also expressed support for a mass action or protest against what it called ”subversion of the electoral process, including the manipulation of the collation of election results.”

Omar had declared a two-day sit-at-home strike for workers across the country before the May 29 handover date to protest alleged widespread malpractices during the election.

Speaking in Abuja at the end of an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the NLC on Saturday, Omar said, ”INEC has been so compromised that its chairman, Iwu, and its major officers should be removed immediately and prosecuted.”

According to Omar, INEC deliberately sabotaged the election by illegal disqualification of eligible candidates, poor organisation and the subversion of the electoral process.

He said, ”Thugs, the police, armed forces and the security services were used to perpetrate violence in order to intimidate opposition candidates and the electorate and ultimately subvert the will of the people.

”The 2007 elections were characterised in many cases and places by severe shortage of ballot materials, under-age voting, declaration of results even in places where elections did not hold, ballot box snatching and stuffing, and intimidation of voters.”

Describing the elections as a conquest of the electorate’s will rather than a free contest by candidates, Omar added that ”the elections were fundamentally flawed and therefore unacceptable.”

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