Dockworkers' Election Mired In Controversy

PIX: Newly elected President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and his predecessor Comrade Anthony Nted Emmanuel


Story By Roland Ekama.



Intrigues, allegations of disloyalty and succession disputes are threatening the election of a new executive council to run the affairs of the dockworkers branch of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) scheduled for this May.

The crisis which led to the postponement of the election from the earlier date of April 28 is believed to have been triggered by the threat of retribution against members who allegedly defied the directive of the national leadership to vote for favoured candidates in the last election of the new executive council of MWUN.

The threat was said to have been made by Comrade Anthony Nted Emmanuel, former president general of the union. He had promised to publish the names of his members who allegedly voted against the leadership's preferred candidate during the election held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

His threat to sanction such persons is at the crux of the tension in the dockworkers branch of the union even after its own candidate, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, emerged winner, beating Dahiru Talle from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) branch of the union.

With the leading contenders to the post of president general, sources close to the union revealed that Nted is moving against one of the contestants thought to have been among those that defied he leadership at the Uyo election.

This has caused apprehension among delegates loyal to the affected candidate with some vowing that they will not be cowed into voting for a candidate that may not adequately represent the best interest of the union.

Crisis is currently brewing ahead of next month's election that will usher in a new national president of the dockworkers' branch of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).  

The leading candidates are Comrades Johnbull Ikhara and Ibrahim Ohize Tajudeen with Nted believed to be propping up the candidacy of Tajudeen.

However, members of the branch have vowed to vote according to their conscience despite the in-fighting between the powers that be and their favourite candidate.  

"If the election had been allowed to hold on Friday, it would have been bloody because the stakes were very high," a union member stated.

"We are not happy with the way things are going right now because the dockworkers branch is divided"

"We know who the cap fits and we must vote for that person no matter what," a member of the national executive council told Business and Maritime West Africa.

However, when contacted shortly after the NPA branch election, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adeyanju, denied any form of misunderstanding between him and the contestants.

"The union has the right to postpone elections when the house is not in order. We have conducted two branches elections and it was peaceful all through and it is our responsibility to decide when the next election will hold, " Adeyanju said.

He however declined to give the new date for the election but assured that it will hold in May.

When asked on the number of candidates contesting for the post of the President, Adeyanju noted that a total of 13 individuals are in contention but added that the number would be pruned down to two or three contestants before the election.