TUC leadership tussle: Court to rule in application by 2 unions to be joined Aug. 24

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By Esenvosa Izah

Lagos, Aug. 4, 2022 The National Industrial Court, Lagos Division has fixed Aug. 24 to deliver ruling in applications filed by two unions seeking to be joined in a suit filed against the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) by some of its affiliate unions.

The presiding Judge, Justice Rabi Gwandu, fixed the date on Thursday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the TUC members have been having leadership tussle since May, 2022 over the position of the union’s president and other major positions in the union.

One of the unions, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and nine other affiliate unions from the TUC are seeking redress over the leadership crisis.

At the hearing, Mr Johnson Esezoobo, Counsel to the second defendant, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), filed an application seeking for the defendant to join in the suit.

Also, Mr Babatunde Adewusi, Counsel to one of the affiliate unions, a claimant, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), filed an application seeking for the claimant to join the suit.

Speaking to NAN, after the court sitting, Counsel to all claimants, including ASSBIFI and nine other affiliate unions, Mr Timothy Adewale, said: ‘’We oppose the application for PENGASSAN; we have no objection to ASCSN to join as a claimant.

‘’This is because the union can see the integrity of the just cause of the claimants. ‘’

Earlier, Adewale told NAN that he had brought to the attention of the court what he described as, the flagrant disobedience of the defendant (TUC) to an order given by the NIC, Lagos division on July 8.

NAN reports that the Judge, Gwandu had stopped TUC from holding its 12th triennial delegates’ conference pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before the court.

Gwandu also granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant (TUC), its officials or agents from conducting election into the position of president and other national offices of the congress pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

Adewale said: ’’In the discharge of our duty to the honourable court, we brought the attention of the court, the acts of the defendants in disobeying the order of the court.

‘’The court gave the order that there should not be a conference or any election; they disobeyed it: they went ahead; they had their election- a flagrant disobedience to the court order. ‘’

Meanwhile, Counsel to the defendant, TUC, Mr Sola Iji, declined speaking with NAN, saying ‘’ I do not have the brief of my clients to talk to the press.’’

In their views, two affiliate unions of TUC said the reason for the suit filed in court was to seek justice.

One of the (claimant) affiliate union member, Mr Francis Akinjole, Deputy General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria said there was no need for the parties to be in court over leadership tussle.

Akinjole said: ‘’What the court has demonstrated today is suggestive of the need not to even come to court.

‘’The defendants are showing the world that we do not need to be in court- and we are all unions. ‘’

However, a member of the affiliate union, PENGASSAN and defendant seeking to join the suit, its Lagos Zonal Chairman, Mr Eyam Abeng, said the union had full confidence in the judiciary.

‘’At the end of the day, the desire and the mandate that was given by my principal by the 12th Delegate Conference of TUC will be sustained and will be upheld.

‘’What is before us are facts and because the leadership of TUC in line with our constitution is always decided on the floor of the TUC National Delegate Conference, Abeng said.