The Ebonyi State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Thursday held two parallel State Delegate Conferences where parallel State Executives emerged.
One of the factions, led by Comrade Leonard Nka, allegedly loyal to the State Government, held its own at Osborne La Palm Hotel, Abakaliki, a facility said to be owned by the State Governor, David Umahi, while the other faction, led by Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor, held theirs at an undisclosed venue but briefed journalists thereafter.
Recall that Ebonyi State chapter of the NLC was entangled in an intractable crises in 2017, which led to the factionalization of the union.
The crisis followed the then alleged removal of Nwafor from office as the NLC chairman by a faction loyal to Nkah, who was his deputy.
The group accused Nwafor of some irregularities bordering on deceit and embezzlement and went further to announce Nkah as the acting chairman.
It was then alleged, however, that their action was supported by the State Government to undo Nwafor-led executives, which prior to the development was having running battle with government over workers welfare.
In defiance, Nwafor and those loyal to him had rebuffed his removal from office, describing the action as a nullity, while insisting that he remained the authentic chairman.
Meanwhile, the Nwafor-led executive from then to date is said to be backed by the national leadership of the NLC.
Consequently, both Nwafor and Nkah have been laying claim to the seat since then, a development that invariably birthed the scenario which played out in the state delegates Conference.
From information available to the press, the executives of both factions emerged unopposed.
While Nwafor was reelected chairman of his faction, Nkah emerged substantive chairman of his own faction.
Those elected into Nwafor’s led faction included Comrade Emmanuel Egwu Item and Comrade Charles Ozomena Aneke as Vice Chairmen.
Others are Comrades Amiara Tobias and Comrade Kelechi Nwanchor as Auditors, and Comrade Anthony Egwu as Treasurer.
In Nkah’s faction, Comrades Thompson Ngele and Emmanuel Mbam emerged as Vice Chairmen, while Comrades Chukwuma Onwe and Joel Nnaji were returned as Auditors.
Comrade Elom David was elected Treasurer, while the immediate past state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Veronica Osim, and Comrade Okoro were elected Ex-Officio members.
Nwafor’s faction was sworn-in by Comrade Benson Upah from the NLC national headquarters in Abuja, while Nkah’s faction was sworn-in by Metu Nathaniel, a member of Nigeria Union of Teachers in the state, who was the chairman of the credentials committee.
Asked why the national leadership of the union was not represented, Nkah said: “Their presence is inconsequential.”
Nkah in his acceptance speech thanked the workers for the trust and confidence they reposed in him and promised to make their welfare his utmost priority.
Nwafor on his part promised to always stand with the state workers and appealed to them to forge a common front in spite of political militating factors.
He alleged that the division was politically masterminded to gain advantage over the workers in the State.
Security agencies monitored both elections, which were peaceful.