After serving the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) for six consecutive years, the incumbent president general, Comrade Onikolease Irabor is expected to hand over to a successor on March 27, 2009 as the union meets in Benin, Edo state to elect a new set of leaders.
The decision to fix its quadrennial delegates conference for the Edo state capital was the highpoint of the union’s Central Working Committee (CWC) and National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which held last week in Benin.
The all-important meeting was the climax of weeks of anxiety over the impending elections and the likely candidates who are waiting to take over from the outgoing executives.
Our source at the meeting confirmed that the NEC and CWC was declared open by the governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomole who had about six years ago inaugurated the Irabor-led executive council after the running of the union had been wrestled from the government-appointed caretaker committee.
The government had moved against the Comrade Uzoije Ukaumunna-led executives on the grounds of gross violation of the constitution of the MWUN and allegedly perpetrating acts that were causing a breach of security.
Prior to last week’s meeting which held between Wednesday and Thursday, there had been insinuations that the outgoing president general was attempting to tinker with the constitution so as to accommodate him after leaving office. It was alleged that it was this ambition that made him to set up a constitution review committee
But Shipping Position Weekly confirmed that the issue of constitution review did not even excite the delegates and that the committee’s report was not even debated at all.
Identities of those who are likely to be eyeing the seat of president general were still top secret as at last week, but a top member of the out-going executives confirmed that the position may have been zoned to the dockworkers branch of the union.
The MWUN comprises of four branches namely: Dockworkers branch, NPA branch, Shipping and Courier branch as well as NIWA, Seamen and Water Transport branch.
Prior to recent weeks the name of the branch president of the Shipping Courier branch, Comrade Edwin Ogbonna had been mentioned as a likely successor to Irabor, but that became a dream after he openly condemned the out going union leader and caused his branch to pass a vote of no confidence on him.
But Shipping Position Weekly can confirm that the incumbent branch president of the dockworkers branch, Comrade Tony Nted Emmanuel may succeed the outgoing MWUN boss.
Comrade Tony Nted was also elected as president of dockworkers branch in 2003. He has remained so since then.
Another source within the union confirmed to Shipping Position Weekly that meetings are being held regularly by interested groups and that the most pronounced are the ones that are currently going on within the dockworkers branch following confirmation that the coveted slot of president general has been zoned to the branch.
Our sources however refused to be quoted on how the president of the dockworkers branch was endorsed and whether others from other branches who had indicated interests have been told to back- off for him.
One of them however confirmed that the rumoured ambition of the president of shipping and courier branch of the union, Comrade Edwin Ogbonna has been overtaken by events, saying that the union leader who once convinced his branch to pass “a vote of no confidence” on the president general, Irabor has withdrawn from the race.