Zoning of key elective positions has torn leaders of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Ogun State, apart, as the State chapter of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) boycotted the 7th triennial delegate conference of the TUC in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Our correspondent reports that members of the ASCSN had walked out of the congress in protest against the development.
The State Chairman of ASCSN, Olude Isa Owolabi told newsmen that members of the association boycotted the TUC congress because they felt cheated in the zoning arrangement.
The ASCSN, which has the largest membership strength, is one of the eight associations that made up the TUC in Ogun.
Owolabi explained that the zoning agreement his association had with other members of TUC was allegedly altered some hours to the congress on Thursday.
According to him, members had earlier agreed the ASCSN would produce the chairmanship slot of TUC Women Commission alongside other key offices.
However, he expressed displeasure that other members of the union betrayed the Senior civil servants by changing the arrangement and giving ASCSN the Secretary of the Commission without prior notice.
It was gathered that the selection of officers was done through consensus as elections could not be held due to COVID-19.
Speaking further, the Ogun ASCSN boss said: “The arrangement was that since our association has been in charge of the leadership of TUC for quite some numbers of years, precisely 12 years, the other affiliate contacted us and asked that we should allow them to have a slot of the leadership.
“In the opinion of the association, there can’t be leadership without followership and no single union can do it alone. We agreed on the chairmanship of the women commission.
“It came as a surprise to us today when they read the name of our member was read as the secretary to the commission instead of chairman, women commission.
“We are going to post our protest on the portal of the National Secretariat of the TUC, informing them of the situation today, because the centre belongs to all of us and no individual, no particular union nor affiliate can claim the ownership of TUC.”
He added “We are not fighting; we will come back to the round table and agree on some things. If they give us what we want, then we can work together as a team to benefit our members.
“The list circulated yesterday was not our agreed list earlier, hence we considered it necessary to walk out of the delegate conference.
“We are civil servants and we are together in struggle. There can’t be divisions among us.
“All we want is to ensure that the position of chairmanship of women commission is given to our association,” he stated.
Reacting to the boycott, the newly elected chairman of TUC, Akeem Lasisi said the “supposed agreement” was never an agreement.
Lasisi noted that there was realignment in the zoning of elective positions in the union so as to accommodate demands of other associations.
The TUC Chairman explained that the union zoned the chairmanship slot of the TUC women commission to another association because members of ASCSN had occupied the position more than six times.
He, however, said the distribution of elective positions was to ensure justice and equity for other union members.
Lasisi expressed readiness to have a round-table discussion with the aggrieved members of ASCSN.
He added, “If you are talking of the gentleman agreement we had, it was never an agreement.
“In the case of the TUC chairperson, this association has been holding this post since the creation of TUC women commission in Ogun State. They’ve already spent almost six terms on this post as chairperson.
“Even the last administration, the association occupied the office of the chairperson TUC women commission and at the same time, they also occupied the post of the chairman of the union. You are now saying that you still want to continue as the chairperson, TUC women commission.”
Lasisi further said, “I think what the association want to do is that, they want to pocket TUC in Ogun State council.
“How can you say you will not contest for chairman and continue to take Secretary, treasurer and chairperson women commission, is that possible?
“We will try to get in touch with them and try to settle, because in every election, there is usually some type of misunderstanding and this is one of it. I want to appeal to them to come back to the fold.”