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Watch Labour Party, NLC Quarrel Over Party Ownership, Autonomy

“The Labour Party belongs to Nigerian workers, not NLC,” says LP Deputy Chairman Ayo Olorunfemi.


Amidst the protest by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) members against the Labour Party’s planned National Convention set for March 27, the Party has rejected the claims that the NLC owns the Labour Party. The Party said this in a statement while accusing the present NLC leadership of being political.

Deputy National Chairman of the Labour Party, Ayo Olorunfemi joined ARISE NEWS Primetime on Wednesday in an interview to discuss the ownership of the party, firmly refuting the claims that the ownership of the Labour Party lies in the hands of the NLC.

“The Labour Party belongs to Nigerian workers, not NLC and the earlier we understood this, the better. We have TUC, we have NLC, we even have professional bodies. We have informal sectors of the economy, people who are not unionized at all, they are all owners of Labour Party. 

“For NLC to want to lay sole claim to the ownership of Labour Party is absurd. NLC cannot be laying sole claim to the ownership of Labour Party.”

However, speaking in the same interview, the Acting National Chairman of the NLC Political Commission, Theophilus Ndubuaku, disputed the statements of Olorunfemi regarding the Labour Party’s ownership, maintaining that the NLC registered the Party in 2003, therefore giving it ownership rights.

“In 2018, there was a court judgment by Justice Kolawole that stated clearly that Labour Party belongs to NLC. NLC registered Labour Party in 2003. The problem is that they are used to flouting, disregarding court orders, disregarding agreements.”

Ndubuaku’s statements were later supported by Issa Aremu, a former trade unionist who joined ARISE Newsnight in a discussion regarding the topic.

He said, “Labour party was conceived by the Labour movement, precisely the Nigeria Labour Congress and TUC later joined. The whole vision was that as good as trade union struggle could be to improve the working and living conditions of the workers, there’s a limitation to what trade unions can do. Labour thought it was time for us to also be politically involved, and this is part of a long heritage. Right from 1950, the first Labour party was formed and conceived.

“But you also know that after the party has been registered, the party has its own autonomy and it is clear that Nigeria Labour Congress is a very formidable stakeholder within the national executive council of the Labour Party. As to the ownership, you can’t doubt it. Even the name. Originally it was Social Democracy Party. We later transformed it categorically to the Labour Party. But there has always been this contestation between the party and the Nigeria Labour Congress.”

Regarding the NLC’s complaint that the Labour Party is holding a National Convention on March 27 and the NLC is yet to be fully informed, Olorunfemi said, “To say that they are not aware of a convention coming, is absurd and it’s an unfortunate statement. That is mischief and that is lie telling.

“The constitution of the party is very clear about who fixes date and venue for convention to hold and that is the sole responsibility of the national chairman and the national secretary and they have since performed this responsibility.”

Melissa Enoch

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