· Union seeds next PG post to dockworkers branch
· Tony, Bakare may square up
· Ousted group stages come back
Even though no one is willing to talk about it, there is anxiety within the fold of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) following the rumoured endorsement of the president of the dockworkers branch of the union, Comrade Tony Nted and the likelihood of opposition coming from the deputy president general of the union, Comrade Rasaq Bakare.
Elections into the national executive council and the four branch executive councils of the union are duly in March and indications are emerging that the current leadership led by Comrade Onikolease Irabor has begun moves to ensure that it does not fractionalise or disintegrate the union.
The move to secure the union is coming on the heels of feelers that some former members of the union are warming up to disorganise the union ahead of the elections.
Shipping Position Weekly confirmed that the threat has become real to the extent that an innocuous group which reportedly calls itself “Concerned and bonafide members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria has penetrated the union, claiming that it had sacked the Comrade Onikolease Irabor-led executives.
The development has also gingered the four branches in the union to pass a fresh “vote of confidence” on the Irabor team, even as the foursome; namely: Dockworkers branch, NPA branch, Shipping and Courier branch as well as NIWA, Seamen and Water Transport branch to write the Nigerian Labour Congress and reassure that there is no problem with the MWUN.
A source within the executive confirmed to Shipping Position Weekly that the group has actually been meeting, but he stressed that the group is made up of former members of the union who are no longer in the system. The source also confirmed that some members of the group were arrested recently while holding what he called “an illegal meeting”.
“We are used to seeing things like this anytime election is coming; they are no longer in the ports, but they still think that things can be like before, we do not rule out the possibility of their wanting to cause trouble or create disaffection within the union ahead of the election”, the source stated.
Comrade Irabor; the incumbent president general is in the last two months of his second term; hence he is not eligible to stand for elections again.
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 Ogbona 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.
Shipping Position Weekly recalls that the “vote of no confidence” saga drew the ire of other three branches which promptly declared their support for the leadership of Comrade Irabor. Both were later reconciled by the central working committee (CWC) of the union.