The National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress ended in crisis on Thursday as participants failed to elect a new president to succeed Abdulwahed Omar.
The election was progressing smoothly until some discrepancies were observed in the ballot papers.
The discovery led to allegations that culminated in fisticuffs and throwing of chairs at each other by some of the delegates at the International Conference Centre, the venue of the conference in Abuja.
One of our correspondents gathered that some of the delegates felt that the ballot papers were deliberately printed to facilitate the rigging of the election in favour of one of the candidates.
The candidates are the NLC current National Treasurer, Ayuba Wabba; the Deputy President, Joe Ajaero, and the President, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Achese Igwe who later stepped down.
Some of the ballot papers, according to some of the delegates, had Wabba’s name in three places and Ajaero in two places. Others which did not have Ajaeros name on them also had no serial numbers.
The delegates from Igwe’s constituency, NUPENG, were said to have called attention to the discrepancies in the ballot papers.
When the argument over the issue degenerated, some of the delegates loyal to either Wabba or Ajaero, started hauling chairs at each other, thereby causing pandemonium at the venue. Others seized and destroyed the ballot boxes.
Wabba seemed to have a brighter chance of being elected the next President of the congress until Tuesday when Igwe, who is also the NUPENG President, stepped down and declared support for Ajaero.
Delegates loyal to Ajaero are of the view that the organisers of the election may have allowed deliberate errors in the ballot papers to pave the way for the election of Wabba.
The leadership of the congress has however called a meeting of the National Administrative Council to decide on how to solve the crisis.
Our correspondent, who was at the Labour House Headquarters of the NLC in Abuja, observed that the meeting was ongoing as of the time of filing this report.
With the outcome of the delegates conference, the NLC appears to be heading for a major division.
Investigations reveal that MHWUN, the NUEE and NUPENG contributed N423m, N320m and N159m, respectively to the congress between 2011 and June 2014.