THE Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) has given its National President, Comrade Lawrence Amaechi, a reprieve to serve out his tenure after retiring from federal service on September 8, 2020.
The NCSU made the resolution at an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) held on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at the Green Minds Hotels, Utako-Abuja.
While efforts to get the signed copy of the communiqué containing the resolutions from the NEC failed as the union’s General Secretary, Comrade Bomoi Mohammed Ibraheem, said via text message that he was held up at a meeting, and the National President, whose mobile was unavailable as at the time of our call; National Record gathered from a reliable source at the union’s National Secretariat that the NEC fixed January 25, 2022 for NCSU’s statutory National Delegates’ Conference.
According to the source, Comrade got the reprieve as a soft landing to avoid throwing the union into irreparable crisis as the NEC was convinced that though, he had actually retired, it would be in the interest of the union to give him until January when his tenure would ordinarily be ending, a period, the source said, “is just about four months from now.”
Our source also revealed that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) played a crucial mediatory role in allowing Comrade Amaechi to stay up to the end of his tenure, when the NLC had argued that as Vice President of NLC, the NCSU National President be allowed to benefit from an established tradition where serving national leaders of the Congress are usually allowed to finish their tenure irrespective of whether they have retired from service or they had ended a tenured position in their unions.
When contacted, the Chairman of Chairmen of NCSU State Councils, Comrade Kabiru Inuwa, confirmed NEC’s reprieve to Comrade Amaechi, stating that it was “based on the doctrine of necessity.”
Comrade Inuwa said while the constitution of the union actually has provision in the event of a situation where the position of the National President had become vacant either through retirement, or whatever situation, the current reality demands careful management for the purposes of unity and fairplay.
“The main reason for keeping our National President to serve out his tenure is the doctrine of necessity. The doctrine of necessity in the sense that our two National Deputy Presidents are contesting for the position of the National President at the 2022 National Delegates Conference. We did all we could so that one of them can drop his ambition for the other, but none is ready.
“The hitch is that our constitution made it clear that in the event of the retirement, or whatever, of the National President, one of the two deputies will act as the National President. Unfortunately, none of them could do that. So as a doctrine of necessity, in order not to tear our union apart, we said okay; what is the requirement and maximum period in the event that a leader ceases to be a due-paying member; that he or she can be allowed to stay in office?
“We realised that it is a maximum of three months, and co-incidentally, the tenure of the current National President is ending in the next three months. So, we quickly adopted that doctrine of necessity and said okay, let the National President serve out his tenure, and let our election hold in line with the normal statutory process.
“From three or four of our elections going back, there was never a time that we did election in a month and after four years we do it that same month. We used to give three months constitutional provision in case of finances or what have you. People used to take advantage of that window and use that three months’ extension that are allowed but for now, we said we are not going to allow that three months window because the maximum period our National President can stay without being a due-paying member as contained in our constitution is that three months.
“So we will allow him to stay for the three months so that he will serve out and we do our election. If there is any other reason, it is secondary, but to be candid with you, our major reason is the unity of our union so that we cannot be divided. That is the major reason we took that decision, and we are sure it will augur well for us,” Comrade Inuwa told National Record.
According to the Chairman of Chairmen, as Comrade Inuwa is popularly addressed in NCSU circles, most members of the union are in favour of an election that is rancor-free in order not “to tear the union apart” and as a result, they are in favour of a single lineup at the forthcoming delegates conference on January 25, 2022.
He said: “As you can see, unions are trying their best so that electioneering does not tear them apart; so we are not going to allow anything that will tear us apart, and we are doing everything we can so that we have a single lineup, if possible, without disenfranchising anybody who is willing to contest. At least, let anybody contesting see it written that even if he contests, the union had decided to go its way of enhancing unity. So there is no need of contesting or dividing the union, at least if we can achieve that unity, we are sure we will emerge stronger; so that is the essence of the current broad effort.
“So, I can tell you authoritatively that the factual and the actual reasons behind our decisions at the NEC are embedded in the unity of our union, because we realise the dangers of saying any of the Deputy National Presidents should act pending the normal election at our conference. If you give Mr A, you are giving him an advantage over Mr B and vice versa. Mr B has his own supporters, just as Mr A has. Apart from that; one is from the North and another is from the South. So, this can create divisions which we do not like. So, we are tied and there is nothing we can do order than what we have done, hence we adopted the doctrine of necessity.”
Comrade Inuwa noted at the moment, three members of the union are noted to have declared interest in becoming National President at the January 25, 2022 conference. He said in addition to the current two Deputy National Presidents, the third candidate is Comrade Lily West, a former Chairman of Rivers State Council of NCSU.
When asked that he was rumoured to be one of the contestants, Comrade Inuwa said it is just rumour making the rounds. “Definitely, it is rumour; rumours are going round that I am contesting. Definitely, all those things are rumours, but I will not lie to you, many chairmen, from both North and South have been asking me for the past one year that I should contest but what one will always consider is unity of the union.
“If you think of self, you’re deceiving yourself, as far as organization-building is concerned, most especially trade union organisations, you have to make sure that all you think of is the interest of the trade union. As the leader of the Chairmen of State Councils, I believe I have to allow our union to operate a fair and just playing ground.