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Members, not politicians will determine our leadership -NULGE boss
Comrade Adamu Salihu Eladoga is the president of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nasarawa state chapter. In this interview with Ademola Adegbite, Comrade Eladoga, he speaks on the prevailing crises within the union at both the national and state levels, among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
What can you briefly tell us about yourself?
I am Comrade Adamu Salihu Eladoga, the democratically elected Nasarawa State president of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE). I am an indigene of this state from Keana Local Government, an employee of the Local Government Service Commission, Nasarawa State. I was born on December 14, 1962. I attended my primary school in Keana before proceeding to Teachers’ College in Obi and completed in 1984 and later moved to the Kaduna State Polytechnic. At the moment, I am running a programme at the University of Jos in Plateau State.
It seems all is not well within the state chapter of NULGE in the last couple of months. What is the situation like now?
Labour as an organisation has a constitution that governs the conduct and operations of the union and NULGE is one of them. The leadership of NULGE in particular is attained through the democratic means. We have to go through election processes where delegates from all the local government councils would be filled, election would be conducted and whoever emerges as winner would be announced. In Nasarawa State today, before the inception of the present administration, I was first elected into this office to serve the union on April 11, 2006 and by 2010, I must have served four years constitutional term. But in January 2010, we met at the State Executive Council (SEC) where we took the decision as provided by the constitution of the union. The constitution empowers SEC to decide on the conduct of the state delegates’ conference. We met and adopted April 15, 2010 for our election then. As the custodian of the secretariat, the state secretary who was in charge of the conduct of the state election went ahead with the election processes and sent circulars to all the local government branches, notifying them on the preparation for the election which was billed to hold on April 15, 2010.
But unfortunately, the immediate past Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma, was not interested in my leadership because of the position I took to defend the interest of the entire workers in the state. During this period, the union had leadership tussle at the national level and because of this, the government invited the other faction to come and put in place a caretaker committee, and the composition of this group was not up to the required number as provided by the constitution for NEC meeting. NEC meetings of NULGE are to be attended by all the state presidents of the union and 18 elected national officers, so if you add 37 to 18, it will give you about 55 membership. So, on our own side, we have 25 against the remaining and there were no national officer because of the prevailing crisis then.
The bone of contention was that some factions emerged during the election we held in Calabar in August 2009, but were not recognised at the national level so they went to court. The other faction that had 12 states went ahead to collaborate with the state governments who protected their interest to polarise NULGE in some states. It was just few state governments that accorded them that recognition, they tried it in Benue and Rivers but the governors of those states did not recognise them so they were handicapped. It happened in many states like that but we thank God today all is now history because all the caretaker committees have been put to rest, except in Nasarawa state and this is based on political reason. The reason why the former Governor Akwe Doma did this that time was that I took firmly to defend the interest of the workers in the state, particularly local government staffers.
Were you romancing opposition parties in the state then?
No at all, I was not romancing any political party. I was only protecting the interest of the entire workers because that was the mandate given to me. I am not a conventional politician, so I don’t have any mandate to protect the government in place. The issue started when former Governor Akwe Doma was about two years in office. There was a scheme of service that was brought before him for consideration; the document as approved by the Federal Government was sent to him for his blessing so as to be implemented. Many states in the federation have implemented it, only Nasarawa State was left behind. When he came on board, the local government account which is the major account was transferred arbitrarily from one bank to another. The local government account was domiciled at Zenith Bank, Maitama, Abuja. You know taking major account out of the state is rather causing havoc to such state because the capitalization policy of banks directed that all banks must operate in branches in every state capital in the country so as to avail the youths of those states the opportunity of gainful employment.
Revenues that the state was supposed to be getting was not coming because the bank was not transacting here very well. Nasarawa is more or less a civil service state, a young state that is just coming up, I went to the press and granted an interview where I scored his government 30 low after two years in office. Some people even blamed me that 30 per cent was too much for the governor that was not doing anything. So, that was the cause of the crisis. He started grumbling. When we demanded for the review of our salary by just N2,000,00, the governor refused. He tried all he could to destabilise us but it didn’t work. He invited the minority group of the union at the national level to come and put in place a caretaker committee. One person and an employee of the union came to Nasarawa and announced the caretaker committee overnight, having attended a meeting with local government chairmen who were non-financial members of the union.
The leadership of the union cannot be determined by politicians but by financial members. Despite that, we went to conduct our election and it was peaceful and devoid of any rancour. We went to our secretariat though under construction to conduct the election. After the election, the national secretariat of the union communicated to the governor about my emergence as the president of the union in the state but he said no. In the same year, the national crisis of the union was put to rest in Kaduna when all members throughout the federation met and resolved that the crisis must be resolved. Meanwhile, the injunction given to the other party never said there must be caretaker committee in all the federation, but the NEC of NULGE was directed to inaugurate a seven-man committee to man the affairs of the union at the national level.Share