Chief Uchenna Obigwe, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abia Council, maintained on Monday that the organised labour and government must work as partners in progress and not as enemies.
Fielding questions from our reporter in Umuahia on Monday, Obigwe explained that the two bodies must work together for the enthronement of an industrial harmony and in the interest of the society which they serve.
Obigwe, who also reacted to his purported removal as NLC Abia State chairman by the national leadership of NLC over his alleged romance with the Abia government and keeping two jobs, contended that it would amount to living in denial for the national leadership of the congress to expect state chairmen “to be fighting state governments”
He likened the relationship between labour and government to that between husband and wife, adding “If your wife is disobedient to you and always proves stubborn to you, will you give her money, when she demands?
“Labour and government”, he submitted, “are partners in progress and should work in synergy to ensure industrial harmony and robust welfare package for workers”, even as he declared that he was able to recover the NLC permanent site allotted to the congress by the state government, because of the cordial relationship he had with government.
He alleged that the land was sold for about N20 million by some fraudulent and unscrupulous members of the congress.
“The same people that sold the land and shared the proceeds among themselves have conspired to accuse me of keeping two jobs and fraternising with government. They plotted my purported removal in Abuja. They forgot that I was elected by congress members and not appointed.
“There is no way I can keep two jobs and the state government would not know,” Obigwe who, thanked God for restoring his office, said.
The NLC boss in Abia State also spoke on the allegation that he had retired from service and ought to relinquish his position, arguing that the Constitution of NLC did not prohibit retirees from holding executive position in the congress.
“As a matter of fact, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners is an affiliate of NLC, so its members are eligible to hold offices in NLC,” he said, citing instances with states where pensioners hold executive positions to buttress his point.
Our reporter recalls that Obigwe obtained an interim injunction from a National Industrial Court, sitting in Owerri, annulling his removal, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
His word, the matter which was scheduled for hearing on April 21, 2021, was stalled because of the current nationwide strike by judiciary workers.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.