By: Okunade Adekunle
As the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) conducted its national delegates convention at Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, last week Friday, there are indications that the union is currently facing leadership crisis as two presidential aspirants, Dr Musa Danjuma, the incumbent National President and Lukmon Rasheed, the incumbent National Treasurer, laid claim to be the elected National President of the union.
It was gathered that 96 out of 160 delegates staged a walk out at the election venue as they alleged that the supporters and loyalists of Lukmon Rasheed were disenfranchised.
It was further gathered that Lukmon Rasheed was not allowed to participate in the election as he was disenfranchised on the allegation that he did not pay check-off dues which was part of the conditions to be met before being elected as a member of the National Executive.
When our correspondent contacted Lukmon Rasheed, he explained that he was disqualified by the screening committee without given fair hearing, stressing that the screening committee conspired with some elements in the union to disenfranchise him.
When asked why he did not pay his check-off dues to the union before the election, Rasheed explained that his decision was premised on the overwhelming situation that has plagued the union over time which he said was seriously preventing the union from making any meaningful progress.
He accused the screening committee of being partial in the discharge of their duties, saying that some of the cleared aspirants who were in the camp of Dr Musa Danjuma did not meet the stipulated conditions for participating in the election.
“If you go through the report of the screening committee, you will see the conditions. For you to be eligible to be voted for, you must be a financial member, you must be enlisted as a delegate to the conference and you must not default in payment of levy/levies. Most of the aspirants who they claimed won election were not eligible. For instance, Comrade Johnny Akwata did not pay his levies up to date, Comrade Onoja Mathew defaulted too and as well Akeem Balogun to mention a few”, said Rasheed.
“I served as Treasurer and I can authoritatively tell you that those that paid their check-off dues till date among the contestants were cleared. They are scared of my acceptability and popularity among the delegates so they only resorted to disqualifying many of us including our delegates”, said Rasheed.
He argued further that the constitution of the union stipulates that for anybody to be an elected member of the National Body, he must have served for 3years in his domestic unit, adding that Akeem Balogun who was elected a trustee, had just 6months as the Chairman of Eco Bank domestic.
Rasheed explained that he has majority votes and delegates and that the delegates voted for him at the premises of the delegates’ conference Airport Hotel, stressing that NUBIFIE under his administration is moving back to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
He added, “I am telling you authoritatively that NUBIFIE is going back to NLC, we are no more with ULC”.
He further explained that the Danjuma camp would not want to reveal the main reason for stopping the payment of his check off due, stressing that he copied them the letter he wrote to the management to stop remittance to NUBIFIE national account.
“I invited them to discuss a possible agitation with my bank’s management and rather than to discuss the issue, they were requesting for financial assistance. That got my members angry and it was the reason we stopped our check-off due”, said Rasheed.
He argued that rule 30 of the union constitution allows stoppage of check off due as long as there is a basis or reason for it.
Rasheed added, “ I am very sure Danjuma cannot look me in my face and say I betray him.”
In the report of the Screening/Credentials Committee to the Conference-In-Session at the 10th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference, which was made available to WESTERN POST, 22 delegates and contestants were cleared to participate in the election, while the disqualified contestants were 10.
While reacting to the issue, Musa Danjuma explained, “Constitutionally, somebody who has not been paying check off dues for 3months is not eligible to vote and be voted for.”
Danjuma stressed further that Rasheed tendered his resignation in January 2017, stressing that the resignation was unconstitutional but that it was allowed because he was perceived to be part of their camp.
He stressed, “Constitutionally, somebody who has not been paying check off dues for three months is not eligible to vote or be voted for. He tendered his resignation letter in January this year, ordinarily this was unconstitutional but we allowed it seeing him as one of us. We have been doing things together prior to our conference. It is obvious that he is being pushed by some people”.
Danjuma concluded, “All the claims he is making are fallacies. None of those in the new executive of NUBIFIE owes check off dues as he claimed.”
Analysts argued that the imbroglio in NUBIFIE is an offshot of the current crisis in the Nigeria labour movement, where the Ayuba Wabba-led administration of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Joe Ajaero-led administration of the United Labour Congress (ULC) are seriously on the loggerhead on who is the real voice of Nigeria Labour.
As it is, the Danjuma group claimed to be loyal to ULC while Rasheed group claimed to be loyal to NLC.
The struggle for the control of NUBIFIE by the two groups, analysts argued it may continue to cripple the ideological underpin of Nigeria Labour Movement.