Concerned Members sets to rescue NUSDE from total collapse


Acting National Deputy President, Ejike Bethran, Acting National President, Aminu Megbotowon, ( reading his acceptance speech), and the Acting General Secretary, Augustine Nwakolam, after the unveiling of NUSDE’s National Interim Committee, NIC, in Lagos.


Concerned about the gradual decline, Concerned members in shop and distributive industry have geared up their interest towards rescue of.the union from total collapse.

Worried by the inability to play its useful roles in addressing the ongoing hardship and unaffordable food stuff due to the in-house conflicts, some Concerned Members and friends of NUSDE embarked revival mission.

The rescue team took the battle and struggle upon themselves to deliver the once vibrant industrial union, National Union of Shop and Distributive Employees (NUSDE), from ruin.

Lamentably, some few leaders ran NUSDE aground in recent times.

Expressing anger over the struggle by NUSDE under late indefatigable Comrade Bright Anokwuru, to make NUSDE a sound vehiment industrial union was rubbished by successive leaders, they noted that they may call  for intervention of Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the union accounts based on its inability to pay workers and settle electricity bills for the secretariat.

The protracted leadership tussle  rocking the union since 2018 came to a head in 2022 when a National Industrial Court (NIC), sitting in Lagos declared its national delegates’ conference illegal.

All efforts by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) the umbrella body and Shop & Distributive Employers Association, (S&DTEAN), to bring sanity to the union failed to yield positive results.

To worsen the matter, President of NLC, Joe Ajaero personally intervened, met both sides, and mid-wifed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed by both parties.

Part of the MoU was “That the National Administrative Committee be expanded to accommodate all interested parties, the General Secretary should proceed on retirement after serving the union for 44 years, organs of the union be convened immediately and all parties must embrace peace.”

Unfortunately, the MoU that was signed last year was not respected by those accused of foisting themselves and ruining the union.

At a briefing last week Wednesday 20 March 2024, the Chairman of Concerned Members of NUSDE, Comrade Timothy Agbola, detailed the genesis of the crisis and efforts by stakeholders including NLC and S& DTEAN to find lasting solutions was to no avail

According to him, “Since this unfortunate turn of events, we have embarked on consultation and lengthy discussion with our rank and file members and other stakeholders of the union. No doubt, the union is in bad shape, occasioned by the “I don’t care” attitude of these elements who just want to hold the union down since they don’t have anything at stake.

From one factory to another, our members are really suffering; Our Secretariat Staff are not left out. The Junior Staff are being owed more than 13 months of unpaid salary while the Senior Staff have 15 months of salary backlog. Our Secretariat building is almost collapsed while the electricity supply to the building has been cut largely as a result of accumulated debt. We have no place among the affiliates of the NLC. We owe heavily on NLC affiliation fees. It is very shameful. Nothing works in the union except corruption and misappropriations of the hard-earned union dues.

Therefore, it is high time we moved beyond the fog of the crisis that has dogged our union from the past till the present time. We have come a long way. NUSDE must survive beyond individual self-serving interest.”

He said the concerned members of the union have taken a step to rescue the union from imminent collapse and have set up a Nine-man  National Interim Committee (NIC), to run the affairs of NUSDE for six months within which to organise Special Delegates Conference (SDC), and conduct a credible election to bring about a substantive leadership for the union.

Among others, Agbola said “On Monday, March 11, 2024, we withdrew our case out of court intending to find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis rocking the union as we cannot continue to watch from afar while our members are experiencing needless and untold hardship as a result of leadership ineptitude.

“To this end, we have paid six months of the backlog of salary being owed to all our secretariate staff. For effective running of the union, we are going to put in a Nine–man National Interim Committee who will organize a Special Delegates Conference and conduct a credible election within six months.”

Members of the National Interim Committee of our great union were selected with the mandate to reposition the union within the shortest possible period- They are  Aminu Megbotowon ( Acting National President),  Ejike NnmaniBethran ( Acting National Deputy President), Philip Damisah (Acting National Vice President) Tony Kwemtua (Acting National Vice President), Michael  Efrunu (Acting National Vice President), Lamina Taiwo (Acting National Treasurer), Freedom   Chinedu (Acting National Signing Trustee, WasilatPopoola (Acting National Auditor) and Augustine Nnwakolam (Acting General Secretary), while his appointment will be confirmed or otherwise by the National Executive Council (NEC).

In his acceptance speech, Acting President, Megbotowon, among others, said “We shall look at the past accounts details and also check finances of the union; if need be, we shall invite the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), to help in recovering our money from those who defrauded the union to serve as a deterrent to others who may likely wish to follow same line in the future; we must come out clean.

“We have come a long way; it is our duty and responsibility to protect the sanctity of the union.”

In his welcome address, the leader of the friend of the Concerned Members, the National President of Precision Electrical and Related Equipment Senior Staff Association (PERESSA), Comrade Rufus Olusesan, assured that the union must be revived.

According him, the time for NUSDE to play its pivotal roles has come but it must first settle the internal conflicts.

“Public confidence on industrial unions must be won through raising conscious ideological comrades. Therefore, Union leaders should work as united and formidable force to tackle mass hardship, hunger, suffering and insecurity in the land.

Pained that workers are going through much stress to earn daily needs, Olusesan admitted that workers are being denied the joy of work through casualisation by employers the sectors.

According to Olusesan, disunity among Labour leadership has been robbing the nation from achieving rescuing the masses from exploitative employers.

“Labour union leaders need to redirect themselves as we have lost our right and respect in the eyes of the general public and in the eyes of employers of Labour due to mirage of anti-masses activities.

“As freedom come by struggle, we must fight and regain the lost glory of NUSDE.”

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