By Leonard Okachie
Umuahia, May 10, 2021 Chief Uchenna Obigwe, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Abia branch, has described government and the organised labour as “partners in progress” rather than enemies.
Obigwe said this in an interview with newsmen in Umuahia, on Monday, while speaking on his purported removal as chairman by the national leadership of NLC, for allegedly romancing with the Abia government and keeping two jobs.
He said it would amount to living in denial, for the leadership of the congress to expect state chairmen “to be fighting state governments”.
He likened the relationship between labour and government to that of husband-and-wife relationship.
“If your wife is disobedient and always proves stubborn to you, will you give her money, when she demands?
“Labour and government are partners in progress and they work in synergy to ensure industrial harmony and also achieve a robust welfare package for workers,” Obigwe said.
He said he was able to recover the NLC permanent site, allotted to the group by the state government, because of the cordial relationship he had with government.
He alleged that the land was sold for about N20 million by some fraudulent and unscrupulous members of the state NLC.
“The same people that sold the land and shared the proceeds among themselves have conspired to accuse me of fraternising with government and keeping two jobs.
“They plotted my purported removal in Abuja. They forgot that I was elected by congress members and not appointed.
“There is no way I can keep two jobs and the state government would not know,” Obigwe said.
He also spoke on the allegation that he had retired from service and ought to relinguish his position.
According to him, the Constitution of NLC did not prohibit retirees from holding executive position in the congress.
“As a matter of fact, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners is an affiliate of NLC, so its members are eligible to hold offices in NLC,” he said.
He cited instances with states where pensioners hold executive positions to buttress his point.
Naija247news reports that Obigwe obtained an interim injunction from a National Industrial Court, sitting in Owerri, annulling his removal, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
He said the matter was scheduled to come up for hearing on April 21 but stalled by the current nationwide strike by judiciary workers.