Affiliate unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have rejected the congress election that was held last week and called for outright cancellation of the exercise.
The groups led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers in the state, Comrade Eyo Nsa Itam, told newsmen that the elections cannot stand the test of time because of irregularities that dogged the exercise.
He alleged that the elections were fraught by irregularities and failed to meet the basic tenets of a free and fair exercise, adding that the irregularities including votes exceeding the number of accredited voters.
“The venue of the exercise was not made known to delegates in time and unaccredited unions and persons participated in the exercise.
“The total number of votes cast was far beyond the total number of accredited delegates. By our statistics, the total number of accredited delegates for the Congress was 398.
“Out of this (398), 28 delegates left due to delays without voting thus reducing the total number of votes expected to be cast to about 376.
“However, at the end of the elections, it was discovered that from the chairman to the state ex-officio, it was discovered that the total votes cast was more than the number of accredited delegates.
“For instance, for the chairman, 408 votes were what was recorded and out of that, the total number of delegates would have been 376 that voted and you can see the margin.
“The process was wrong and there were situations where the officers assisting the electoral officers were interfering with the process.
“Secondly, the venue of the election was not made known to comrades in time and we got to know of the venue about 15 hours to the elections and we protested against this.
“They called names as they liked and also brought in unions that were not accredited to come and participate in the elections. They also brought in non-delegates to vote because they have advantage.”
The group said there was no election that is authentic without the returning officers and the agents signing but in this case, the agents never signed because the returning officer hurriedly announced the results after receiving a suspicious phone call.
He emphasized that he who goes to equity must go with clean hands and the affiliated unions are here to state that the purported return of Comrade Benedict Ukpepi as the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in cross river state will not be accepted by workers.
“If he won squarely, we would have embraced and accepted him but seeing this open fraud, it is something we must correct in the labour force.
“If I keep my mouth shut or tell my people to accept it, it means we are not helping the state because the labour movement is supposed to show example.
“If it is done in the wider society and we stay here to criticize, why should we be the architects of this type of exercise so we are going to seek remediation through the processes available within the labour movement to ensure that the elections stand cancelled,” he said.
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