Amid Internal Dispute, Festus Osifo Becomes New TUC President

July 20, 2022
Festus Osifo

By Adedapo Adesanya

Mr Festus Osifo has been elected as the new President-General of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) as an internal rift threatens the cohesion of the group.

His election came at the 12th Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the Congress on Wednesday in Abuja themed The Working Class Amidst the Challenges of National Security, Unemployment and Democratic Development.

With this election, Mr Osifo, who is also the National President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), is expected to pilot the affairs of the labour trade organisation for the next three years and will take over the helm from Mr Quadri Olaleye.

Mr Shehu Mohammed, the returning officer while announcing the results said that a total of 728 delegates participated in the election.

Mr Mohammed said that Mr Osifo pulled 688 votes to defeat his opponent, Mrs Oyikan Olasanoye who polled 18 votes, while 22 votes were declared invalid.

Due to internal disputes, Wednesday’s election was held for only the office of the President-General.

Mr Osifo assumed office as President of PENGASSAN on August 28, 2020, and had also served amongst others as PENGASSAN Producers Forum Chairman, between 2016 and 2018.

The new TUC President is a member of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) and Society for Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

In his acceptance speech, Mr Osifo vowed to fight for the welfare of the masses as well as the protection of the interest of every Nigerian worker.

He commanded the past leaders of the congress for laying “a solid foundation” on which the body thrives and vowed to sustain the vision.

Mr Osifo also promised to carry everyone along in his quest for a greater TUC while also pledging to “initiate a platform to placate all aggrieved comrades.

On his part, the outgoing president, Mr Quadri Olaleye in a goodbye note commended all members for their support, while calling on the incumbent to ensure peace for the union to move forward.

According to him, “I want to seize this opportunity to remind that election in the trade union movement is not a do-or-die affair.

“There is never a loser, always remember that we are comrades and that an injury to one is an injury to all.”

Also speaking, Mrs Peace Obiajulu, the Pioneer President of the TUC called on members of the Labour centre to ensure that the election does not divide the unity of workers.

She said that organised labour must come together to use their numerical strength to redirect the cause of the working class in Nigeria in particular and by extension, the downtrodden in the country.

Ahead of the election, some aggrieved affiliates of TUC had earlier written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali to stop the scheduled TUC Delegate Conference from holding.

The affiliates also further obtained a court order to stop the conference from holding over failure to implement the agreement entered into in the last conference on which affiliate will produce the next president of the labour centre.

The affiliates include the Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASAN), Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), among others.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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