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NULGE and the life patronisation scandal: An agenda before the forthcoming elections

The years that culminated with the formation of the union saw tremendous changes on not only the way local government workers were seen and treated,…

The years that culminated with the formation of the union saw tremendous changes on not only the way local government workers were seen and treated, but on their worth and contribution to the nation’s development.

This fact was to become a reference point for the emergence of the union as a force to reckon with within the nation’s social struggles, and within the political system that determines the smooth running of the country, in all its ramifications.

So well was the contribution of this great union to national development that many of its members, as well as its philosophy were soon to transcend the boundaries of the 747 local councils, to that of national and international relevance.

This struggle was made possible by the visionary instinct of the leadership that struggle to, apart from promoting the welfare of the workers, also served as focal point for the emancipation of the Nigerian people.

The contribution of this great union cannot be over emphasized, and that was seen in the many recommendations it received from local, national and international bodies concerned with the promotion of social cohesion, labour relations and good, as well as the general wellbeing of humanity.

While these noble causes became the norm with which the union strives along with its other labour organizations with pride, its credibility soared, as well, its role in the nation’s scheme of things.

The union was to become an integral part of a cohesive, vibrant and reliable national movement for the protection of workers, and the promotion of the good of all citizens of the country ever since.

This however, was made possible due to strict adherence of codes of conducts, rule and regulations, and as well the principles of credibility, independence and genuine stand on labour and welfare.

Its leaders were reference points in credibility and non partisanship, and its logo service and the protection of workers good.

Things, however, started to nosedive and the credibility that the founding fathers worked so hard to instill suffered heavily since the emergence of Prince Kingsley Ogba  in 2005.

It is on record that his emergence  as the National President of the Union was greeted with optimism, and hope, that the welfare of the workers of the nation’s local governments would soon be of immense significance as promised by the then aspiring President.

The overwhelming support then given was unprecedented, and this further raised the hope that the cherished principles of the union had found a reliable defender and promoter of substance.

His giant stride shortly after further concretized these hopes, when he saw to the completion of the union’s national secretariat.

Things, however, began to fall apart for the Prince and the principles of the union when the president unilaterally and un-constitutionally began to award misguided, illegal and suspicious life patron award to serving governors, mostly, at a time when local government funds in those states were being misappropriated and the local government workers suffering neglect.

In 2005, he awarded the life patron to the Zamfara state Governor Ahmed Sani Yarima without any concrete reason, and any constitutional provision of a life patron in the books of the union.

Shortly after the 2007 elections, Governor Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, from the same Zamfara state was awarded with another life patron recognition by the same NULGE president, a pointer to the fact that the award was just a mere self-interest-sycophancy aimed for people in the higher office.

Or else, how could any discerning mind explain the award to two governors of the same state?

The aftermath of that award, and subsequent sale out of the union and its principle in that single action, soon gave way to parochialism, illegality and the proliferation of life patrons from left, right and centre.

In 2007 alone, Prince Ogba extended his award of life patron-ship  to not less than three more governors, amongst them Governor Sam Egwu of Ebonyi state (currently minister of education), Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba, and in 2008, Governor Murtala Nyako also became  another life patron.

This army of life patrons continued with the Gombe state Governor Danjuma Goje, and soon two other prominent Nigerians, Secretary to the federation Yayale Ahmed, and Senate President David Mark will also be made life patrons of the union.

These awards area clear contravention of the constitution of our great union as well as our basic principle of credibility and non-partisan-ship as a labour movement.

The implication of which are lost of the union’s credibility, proliferation of life patrons that lack constitutional roles, and jeopardizing the non partisanship stand of the union in politics.

The questions many members and analyst are asking are; how relevant are these life patrons to the welfare of local government workers? And is individual benefit to the detriment of the union an achievement worthy of being rewarded with another term?

Worst than this life patronization scandals in the union was the fact that since 2005, the provisions of the union’s constitution have been flagrantly abused through unilateral decisions on summon of meetings, organization of state branches elections, and total disregard to issues of significance to members welfare such as the current scheme of service of workers which the leadership gave no attention to.

And these are some of the questions the national president must answer before he declare any intent and justification to lead us again, failure of which is for him to honorably bow with the burden of being the worst president NULGE ever produced.

Charles Mbu-West writes from No 16 Sule Kyari close, Maitama, Abuja and can be reached at charlymwest@yahoo.ca