Court Restrains PENGASAN From Presenting Presidential, Other Candidates For TUC Election

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The National Industrial Court of Nigeria has retrained the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASAN) from presenting any candidates for the forthcoming 12TH Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), pending the outcome of the case before it.

The 12TH Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the TUC was supposed to be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, but the restraining order may have forced a postponement of the conference.

A court judgment dated July 6, 2022, by Hon. Justice R.H. Gwandu of the National Industrial Court with the suit number: NICN/LA/242/2022 indicated that the order followed a petition filed against PENGASAN by the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) over a leadership tussle, especially for the position of TUC President and other national executives.

The court said that it granted the interlocutory order as prayed on the claimant’s motion paper dated and filed on June 16, 22 by the complainants.

Justice Gwandu, however, adjourned the case till Monday, July 18, 2022, for a hearing, which is 24 hours before the scheduled date of the conference.

Besides, Comrades Emmanuel Jaja, Frances Akinjole, the Committee Chairperson and Committee Secretary, respectively, alleged in Lagos that there was a huge politics of exclusion within the TUC.

The duo stated that the build-up to the office of the President of TUC at the 11th National Triennial Delegates’ Conference between Comrade Sunday Salako of ASSBIFI and late Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, then PENGASAN became so tense that a series of formal and informal meetings had to be held before a compromise that made the former to step down for the latter could be secured.

According to the committee, it was agreed that PENGASAN should produce the presidency in 2019 for a single term of three years, while ASSBIFI would take over the same position in 2022, also for another single term of three years, after which the position would then become open for the contest from the year 2025.

Akinjole stated that the compromise was presented to the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the TUC for discussion, and ratification was obtained, while the same was also put to the National Executive Council (NEC) of the TUC and ratified for presentation on the 11th Triennial National Delegates’ Conference in Abuja.

Akinjole, however, regretted that a few weeks after the conference in Abuja, Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson died, while every effort to make PENGASAN provide a replacement to take up the post was unsuccessful “because they said they were still mourning.”

He added that PENGASAN requested that the conference be postponed, but failed because all preparations for the conference were already concluded.

He added: “Getting to the conference proper in Abuja in 2019, the expectation was that ASSBIFI would be asked to take up the position of the TUC President, but alas, another game surfaced, which dictated that ASSBIFI should still wait for the 2022 Conference that was initially slated for the association.

“In order to avoid rancour and acrimony among affiliates, the then NDC Electoral Committee, headed by a Deputy President of the TUC, comrade Augustine Etafo recommended that the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) should be given the position of President in 2019 for one term and ASSBIFI to take the position of President in 2022 for one term. Also, the position should become open for contest in 2025 after ASSBIFI’s tenure.”

Akinjole expressed surprise at the turn of events when PENGASAN insisted that the 2019 resolution was unconstitutional, adding that it was unfair to it as an association.

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