GOVERNOR Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has accused Comrade Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), of being used to fight his government by vested political interest in Imo State. He made the allegation while fielding questions from reporters at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
Governor Uzodinma is seeking re-election under the platform of the APC. He came to the Presidential Villa alongside APC governorship candidates of Bayelsa and Kogi states to receive hi governorship flags from President Bola Tinubu ahead of the November 11, 2023 Imo governorship election.
The NLC had on Wednesday accused Uzodinma of instructing some thugs and police officers to attack Comrade Ajaero and workers who had assembled at the NLC Imo State Council Secretariat ahead of their planned protest in the state that day.
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The Congress also alleged that Ajaero was abducted by police operatives along with the thugs and brutalised him. It also alleged that the governor mobilised the thugs and the police operatives to scuttle the planned protest over alleged violation of the rights and privileges of workers by Governor Uzodinma’s government.
“Immediately after his arrest, he was beaten up and blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination where more brutalisation took place, sometimes with bottles,” Comrade Benson Upah, NLC’s Head of Information, told journalists Wednesday evening, adding: “Thoroughly brutalised, his right eye at the time of the contact was completely shut. His phones, money and other personal effects were taken off him and have not been returned to him.”
Speaking to journalists the allegations on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Uzodinma said Comrade Ajaero, as an indigene of Imo State has not been able to differentiate between his role as NLC President and as an interested party in Imo politics.
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“What has happened in this ugly coincidence is that the national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress is from Imo state and has not been able to demarcate the difference between being a national leader of an organisation and then an interested party in local politics,” Uzodinma said, and alleged that Ajaero was being used by unnamed opposition political parties to blackmail his government. “There is an attempt to mix up partisan politics or an attempt to blackmail my government, but I can tell you that my people are already aware,” he claimed, adding: “I have convinced my workers in Imo State to believe in me, and that trust is what opposition parties are trying to fight.”