Founding president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Hassan Sunmonu, has faulted the re-emergence of United Labour Congress (ULC) as a labour union, just as he questioned the sense of history of promoters of the group.
Sunmonu, in an interview with The Guardian said: “ULC was one of the four labour centres that formally dissolved after their congresses for the current Nigeria Labour Congress to be founded in 1978. Anybody/group can bear any other name, but not ULC because ULC was one of the four trade centres that melted to form the NLC.
“In conformity with the law at that time, each of the labour centres had to call special congresses to formally dissolve themselves, surrender their certificates before NLC for the NLC to be founded. So, maybe those who do not have a sense of history are the ones that are saying they want to bear the name United Labour Congress (ULC). So, today in the country, nobody/groups can bear the following names- Nigeria Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Labour Unity Front (LUF), United Labour Congress (ULC) and Nigeria Workers Council (NWC). Those were the four centres at that time that dissolved themselves in order to form the Nigeria Labour Congress.”
Asked whether the Federal Government’s recent consultations with ULC’s leadership has not conferred some form of legitimacy on the body already, he said, “Well, I don’t know what is happening in government because I am not in government. But what I am saying as the founding president of the Nigeria Labour Congress is that there are some labour leaders in this country today who do not have a sense of history, on how the NLC was founded and how people struggled to found one trade centre or the other. Now see the way some of them say they have trade centres, and I ask, under what circumstances did they establish theirs? The way they said they organised their congress was questionable and laughable. But I don’t need to go into all that.”
Reacting to Sunmonu’s claims, deputy president of ULC, Igwe Achese said: “Well, first and foremost, Sunmonu is not a lawyer to know, which name could be used or not. I am sure that he knows that the people that are in the ULC today were those who were in ULC in 1977. There is no law in Nigeria today that says that once a name has been used by an organisation, no other group can use it again forever.”
He added: “We gave Sunmonu a job of reconciling the NLC but he failed to achieve success. Therefore, he should face tasks that are given to him and not the one that does not concern him. Indeed, his actions and inactions contributed to making the NLC nose-dived to where it is today.”