The Forum convened an emergency meeting in Asaba, Delta State on Thursday 25th August, 2022, comprised of State Chairmen of Branches, Chapters and Secretaries of the States in the South-South Zone consequent upon the crises at the National Secretariat of the Association.
During a news conference in Asaba after the meeting, the South South Zone said “We support the incumbents. We support every one of them, from left to right. They are pushing to make new inroads for Civil Servants in Nigeria
“In just one year, Dr. Tommy Ekim Okon has emerged as a trusted leader who is intensely focused on delivering results for the Nigeria labour. ASCSN is already much stronger and better governed now than ever.
“Dr. Tommy Ekim Okon has the capacity and the instincts needed to carry forward the affairs of ASCSN. We support him and will do what we can to help ensure a unified ASCSN. His sleeves are rolled up, and he will never stop fighting for the rights of every civil servant in Nigeria. He is activist and union organizer.
“It is now time for every member of ASCSN to unify. For all of us in the South South who supported Dr. Tommy Ekim Okon from the beginning, we considered ourselves progressive unionists,” the Forum said.
The South South Forum’s endorsement and vote of confidence, puts the Dr. Okon leadership in an interesting spot on the platform as he continued for peace and integration of every member
According to the Forum, “we have watched Dr. Okon use his office and influence to push for more critical labour reforms, demand for increase in the salaries of civil servants, following increasing cost of living; demand for the government to restore full payment of gratuity at retirement; lobbying the Nigeria’s President to approve harmonization of public service salaries and allowances, and increase in the budget of the National Housing Fund.”
The Forum warned detractors to exercise prudence noting there are signs of progressive changes in the Association since Dr. Okon mounted the leadership.
“We do like to remind that it is time for all to approach everything with prudence and self-control; we are not motor-park touts. We are Senior Civil Servant and that we must be with etiquettes and civil service rules.”
At the end of the press conference, the South-South Forum issued a 10 point- communiqué airing their grievances against divisive and wrongly showmanship of detractors in a sprawling crises and recent attacks on the national secretariat and some branches .
The Forum called to order, the perpetrators of the widespread turbulence and upheaval to desist forthwith and put a stop to infighting, false statements and myriad oppressions against the leadership of the association.
Naming former President of the ASCSN, Mr. Bola Audu Innocent as the sponsor of the war against the leadership of the Association, the forum said “ASCSN detractors are fumbling in attempts to gerrymander the Association.”
The communiqué reads in part:
“The Forum in session frowned at the incessant incidents of attack by the former President of the ASCSN, Mr. Bola Audu Innocent and his hired thugs on our National Offices both in Lagos and Abuja visiting violence on innocent Staff of the Association.
“It could be recalled that this same Bola Audu Innocent invaded the Headquarters annex of the ASCSN in Abuja with thugs who harassed and intimidated staff of the Association while some were arrested by the Police and detained.
“The attack was also repeated in the Lagos National Office earlier this year Where staff were chased out of the national office as his hoodlums took over the office but for the intervention of the police. On Friday 19th August, 2022, this sad episode was repeated where charm hearing marabouts and hoodlums invaded the National office in Lagos for the second time.
“The forum in session notes that Mr. Bola Audu Innocent was removed as the National President of the Association in 2021 by the National Executive Council (NEC) in accordance with the constitution of the ASCSN.
“The removal of Bola Audu Innocent is a subject of litigation in the court as we speak. The Court has not made any pronouncement one way or the other on the matter as regard his status. So these incessant raids by the removed former President on the ASCSN Offices in Abuja and Lagos cannot be justified and must be stopped. We call on the Law enforcement Agencies to do the needful.
“That the attempts by Bola Audu Innocent and other expelled members and retired staff to take over the Association through self help subterfuge, intimidation, harassment and violence cannot and will not work. That his intentions to sow seeds of doubts and confusion in the minds of members and the discerning public has failed, because the Union is waxing stronger.
“The forum in session calls on the Inspector General of Police to quickly wade into the matter to forestall the breakdown of law and order by calling Bola Audu Innocent to order as his actions are endangering the lives of Innocent staff of the ASCSN.
“The forum in session reiterates, its position that, no chairman of any of the branches in the zone or chapter nor secretary supports overtly or covertly the nefarious activities or actions of the former President whose intent in to tear apart the only union standing in the public/civil service in Nigeria.
“The forum in session is satisfied with the leadership of the Association ably led by Comrade (Dr) Tommy Etim Okon, the National President and Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, the Secretary-General and the entire Central Working Committee (CWC) and hereby passes a vote of confidence on the leadership.
“The forum in session calls on its members across the six states of the South-South Zone to remain calm and steadfast as the matter is being ably handled by the National Leadership of the Association (ASCSN) “
The communiqué was collectively signed by Comrade Bolum Nwachukwu, Chairman South South and Branch Chairman Delta State; Prince E.O. Efedhoma, National Officer; Comrade Clarkson Otu, Assistant Secretary, Cross River State; Emiantol E. Luke, Chapter Chairman, Delta State; Oputu Paul Donbofeghe, Chapter Chairman Bayelsa State; Danagogo June S, (JP), Secretary Rivers State; Dr. Austin T. Jonah.
Others are Kingsley Bassey E. Secretary Akwa Ibom State; Moses Udo, Chapter Chairman, Akwa Ibom State; Udofa Victor M. Chapter chairman, Cross Rivers State; Wasah James Joseph, Branch Chairman, Edo State; Onojeje T. Kelvin, Organizing Secretary; Dennis A. Oshioke, Secretary Edo State; Dan G. Udo, Branch Chairman, Akwa Ibom State; and Obaide Frank O. Branch Chairman Edo State.
However, there is considerable skepticism that the leadership’s opposition will not embrace peace talks, with some analysts noting that Bola Audu Innocent has reneged on several plans for peace deal.