Management Should Treat Workers Equally- UI Non-Academic Staff

Non Academic Staff at the University of Ibadan have called on the management of the University to be liberal int its dealings with the different category of workers, when it involves meeting workers’ demands.

The workers, speaking incognito to Federationews2day,  lamented that the recently released funds for the payment of the arrears of earned allowances tilted in favour of the Academic staff of the institution.

”University management should treat us equally, when it comes to payment of arrears of allowances, a category of staff should not be given preference, it creates bad blood and acrimony”, they stated.

They also urged the university management to expedite action  on their other  demands, while stressing that workers were facing great difficulties meeting their financial obligations.

In a chat with this medium, the Chairman of the Non Academic staff  of Universities(NASU) in the institution, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo appealed to the workers to be patient and place their trust in God.

”I must tell you that human beings are insatiable and human beings need something every now and then.  We need virtually everything, but the fact is that we can’t get all of it. But we are thankful to God, God has been faithful to us, many of our colleagues have passed on. For the fact that we are still alive, we must be grateful to God.”.

”We agitated for so many things, some came, some are yet to come. We are not really giving up, we believe the remaining demands will still come. So, I want our members to  put their trust in  God and believe God. I still want to assure them that whatever we are expecting, will surely come, they shoud be patient for our demands to be met”, Comrade Arojo concluded.

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Appoint An Health Worker As Minister For Peace To Reign In Health Sector-National President NUAHP

Health workers in Nigeria blame the reluctance of the Federal Government to meet their demands on the dominant status of Medical Doctors in the Federal Ministry of  Health. In this interview with Federationews2day, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Allied  Health Professionals, who also doubles as the  Vice Chairman of the Joint Health Sector Union(JOHESU),Comrade(Dr) Ogbonna Obinna Chimela says this has been the major challenge for health  workers in Nigeria. Excerpts :

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How has it been for your union in the past two and half years ?

If something is reoccurring and you are using the same method in solving the same problem and expecting a different answer, then you are just deceiving yourself. So far so good, we have not  had it any good with the Federal Ministry of Health. And we have noticed and it seems to us that the  drivers of the system are predominantly form one  professional group alone, that has not allowed for justice, equity and fairness to take place, in the demands that we are making, because the Minister of Health is a Medical Practitioner, the Minister of state of Health is also a Medical Practitioner, then when policies and decisions are to be taken, most of the time , they don’t look favorably to our own direction.  And that is why we have been having this running battle, it has been on severally, because our demands are not judiciously met, so what we look at as a solution to this, number one, we would want to suggest, maybe in the next dispensation or when the President wants to embark on cabinet reshuffle, in order for peace to reign in the health sector, if the senior Minister is a Medical   Practitioner, the Minister for state, should be from the Allied  Health Profession or from the JOHESU caucus and vice versa, so, it will allow for balancing, it will allow for all inclusive  policy generation and administration. Nobody will be crying foul, because  we know that all of us are in the team, our views would be represented in the planning and execution of the policies.

How would you assess the performance  of the Minster of Health, viz – a viz you demands ?

Really, if we want to score him, viz-a viz, our demands, he has  not performed  well,   because all the issues we’ve being taking to the Government through him, have not been really  looked into, pragmatically, some of the demands are met  haphazardly and not holistically and not total, some of them are half way done,  some are not  even met at all. For instance , the issue of promotion of our members, we have had cause  to tell the Ministry that whenever they conduct  promotions, promotion is an elevation  from an existing cadre or position to a higher one, for instance, someone who is on CONHESS 11, who is promoted to CONHESS 12, they would say that they have conducted promotion interview and that the person has passed, and when they would bring out  promotion letter, they would still place that person  on CONHESS  11, is that promotion ? That is not promotion. And there are other issues that have to do with the headship of Departments, in our various clinical areas, we  still see some other  professionals, like the Pathologists, who are full time employees of the Federal Ministry of Education,  they are in the University, they are just on part-time appointment in hospitals, they still bring them and make them Heads of  Departments of the Clinical areas, when we  have competent and qualified professionals there, as permanent staff. Is that correct ?  So, these are some of the  things that we’ve been presenting to the Government and we are expecting them to implement accordingly. But up till this moment, some of these things have not been implemented. And when you see  us go on strike, strike is a means of calling the Government attention to a prevailing obnoxious situation. When they call us for dialogue, they will agree with us,they would say, we would do this and this, suspend your strike, after a period of time we would settle this matter. But when that time lapses, what do we expect ?  There would be another agitation, the strike would resume again. For instance, the strike that was just suspended a few weeks ago,  the  agreement is that within five weeks, especially one issue that cuts across, the adjustment of CONHESS salary, the way it  was done for Medical Practitioners on CONMESS, should have been done and completed and approved and got from Mr. President. By next tomorrow been Thursday(2nd November) we would have clocked five weeks, we have not got any update. The union leaders would now group to begin agitation, who has failed ? Government of course. Through who ? Through the Federal Ministry of Health, Through who ? Through  the leader, who is the Minster of Health. So, by the time we want to score him, if he has not met our  demands, I think perhaps, we will say that he has failed. It is when he meets our demands and makes us happy, we will give him pass mark, but if he does not meet our demands, he has  failed. So we are calling on him, personally, as an individual, he is an achiever, but we want him to bring that achievement to bear in this matter, it is when has done this, to our own benefit, then we will call him an achiever, if not, he has failed. I pray that he will succeed by meeting our demands.

The Government has said that it would begin the implementation of the  rule ‘No Work, No Pay’, what is your reaction to this ?

It is with mixed feelings we receive this, number one there are procedures, according to the Trade Dispute Act, if you look at part 6, sub-section 41 of it, there are procedural ways of calling a strike, before  we  embark on any strike action, we should give the Government 15 days to look at our demands and now fashion out solutions or methods on how to handle or solve the problem.  If  we  are law abiding and we follow due process, and give Government 15 days to meet  our demands and aspirations,  and within that 15 days Government  fails, and mind you, there is also a provision of the law, the labour law,, that gives us  backing, to show our grievances by withdrawing our services, through strike action. So, if Government is now coming out bold to say, if we go on strike, they will implement ‘No Work, No Pay’, I think they don’t have the right, because they are culprits in the matter, because if they have done their own part, would there be strike ? It is the court that should adjudicate over the matter to know who is right or wrong. Whether the Government is right, let the ‘No Work, No Pay’ take its course, but if the Government is wrong, then we should not be  cowed, by saying that they would implement ‘No Work, No Pay’, that means they want to take us into slavery. There is Fundamental Human Rights in the Nigerian constitution. We have our have our  Fundamental Human Rights to pursue our legal obligations. Number two, there is the Freedom of Information Act, should we not talk ?  They want to cow us, it is against the  law, we will not accept that. It is against our Fundamental Human Rights. If the Government is serious about this matter, it should go to court, we will  go to court. Let the court be  the  final arbiter in this matter. You cannot be a Judge in your own case. We are calling on the Generality of Nigerians that they should stop the Government from taking this action, because if they do it, they will aggravate the situation. We are going to continue with strike action, until this obnoxious rule, they want to bring in, is quashed. We are not in a Banana Republic, we are in a Democratic setting, they must be ready to listen to us, no draconian laws, we are not slaves, we are rightful owners of this  country together. So, that is our position.

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Govt. Should Release Paris Club Refunds Only If It would Be Used To Offset Salary Arrears- Labour Leader

The Federal Government has been called upon to release 50 per cent of the remainder of the Paris Club Refund to State Governors on the condition that same would be used to pay the salary arrears of workers.

This was call was made by the immediate past Chairman of  Trade Union Congress(TUC), who is also the state Chairman, who is also

the state Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants((ASCN), Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a chat with Federationews2day.

‘’The state Governors’ demands are right, they are making legitimate demands and the Federal Government has no option but to concede. When this balance is given to the states, the workers welfare to some extent should be met, because part of the money will also be used to offset their salary arrears, pensions and gratuities ’’.

‘’The Federal Government should insist that it should be used strictly to offset workers’ salary arrears, gratuities and pensions, the rest can be used for infrastructural development. So, the Federal Government should not hesitate to release the money, with a proviso, that since the states are owing workers, salaries, they should forget any other project and clear the salary arrears of the workers, pensions and gratuities, because as it is now, the situation is alarming, in Oyo state, where we are now, the state Government is owing over N52 billion, in terms of gratuities and pension arrears. All these arrears should be a priority, they should clear the arrears and whatever that is left should be used for infrastructure’’, Comrade Emelieze concluded.

 

If Govt. Enforces ”No work No Pay” Clause, Nigeria Will Become A Slave Labour Camp-SSANU

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities(SSANU) has warned that if the Federal Government  goes ahead to enforce the ‘No work No Pay’ clause in the labour law, the country will become a slave labour camp.

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SSANU  GAVE this warning in a chat with Federationews2day, through its National Vice President, Western zone, Comrade Alfred Jimoh.

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”If there is a tripartite agreement, it is binding on all sides, so Government will now provoke and push workers to go on strike, only to rely on ”No work, No Pay”, so if ”No work No Pay”, is applied in Nigeria, then labour would be threatened and labour would not be able to agitate for workers’ rights any longer. And after this, we are going to have a very bad slave labour camp, where you are just asked to continue to labour, whether they trample on your rights  or not, whether they give you your salaries or not, you cannot go on strike, because if you go on strike Government will not pay you”.

”This kind of policy will work in climes where people have respect for collective bargaining. It  works in some other countries, because those countries don’t trample on the rights of their workers, they will respect  Collective Bargaining(CBAs)entered into  with the workers and these workers will have very rare occasions to go on strike. And when they go on strike, before you count two, three days, they resolve the matter and the workers will return to work”.

”My position is that such policies cannot work in Nigeria, if Government wants  to ensure that it works, they must also fulfill their own part of the agreement of what is in the law”, Comrade Jimoh stated.

SSANU also declared  that the Federal Government has no moral justification to enforce the ”NO work, No Pay”, clause in the labour law.

”If you as a Government signed an agreement in 2009, and this is 2017 and you have not consummate the contents of this agreement, and workers have written severally, have threatened strike severally and you did not do anything on it, in 2017, that is eight years after that agreement was signed and workers now embark on strike as the last resort, the question that people should ask this government, is that will  the Government have the  moral right, to now apply ”No work, No Pay” for such workers”.

”That the Government  does not have the moral right, moral justification, to say it would now begin to implement, ”No work, No Pay”, it would not work in Nigeria. Yes, we know the Government wields all the powers, but we will challenge them, we will challenge Government, because on so many occasions, Government bring policies to bear and because those policies go unchallenged, Government goes freely on it, it is not everything that Government pronounces  that will become law, even the laws that are made we will challenge the proprietary in the court of law. Then the court will now say this is what this law means. For me, I think that ”No work, No Pay”, can only work, where Government has  respect for the sanctity of Collective Bargaining Agreements(CBAs)”, Comrade Jimoh concluded.

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No Work No Pay :The Lives of Workers and Their Dependents In Danger-Founder Shafaudeen Worldwide

As Nigerians continue to express displeasure  over the Federal Government’s  decision to enforce the ‘No Work No Pay’ rule, when workers embark on industrial action, the Founder and Spiritual Head of Shafaudeen world wide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke , in this interview with Federationews2day, advises the Federal Government to, in the first instance, clear the backlog of salary arrears, gratuities and pensions, owed workers, before it introduces a policy that is not worker friendly. Excerpts :

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What is your reaction to the Federal Government’s decision to enforce the ”No Work No Pay Rule, when workers go on strike ?

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The International Labour Organization(ILO)2007 states that workers’ agitation is expected, when they are not paid within  the stipulated time, they are due for payment.  If we are to go by the ILO law, which is universal and applies to workers all over the world, of which Nigeria should not be an exception, one will derisively rethink Government’s proclamation of ‘No Work No Pay’, in this period, when workers in Nigeria are owed  more than eight months salaries and pensioners are yet to receive their gratuities in several states, as well as pensions. It is high time, we advise the Federal Government not to be unnecessarily rhetorical on issue concerning the rights of Nigerian workers, most especially when ti comes to the issue of mounting agitations to press home their demands, which takes the form of prompt payment of salaries, facility update of their working environment,  and the need for Government to create an enabling and conducive  environment to work, enhanced productivity and higher efficiency. When the yearnings of workers are not attended to, the lives  of workers and their dependents are in danger, medical danger, safety danger, security danger and comfort-ability danger. This is because  their dependents rest solely on the  meagre amount or token received by Nigerian workers, for sustenance.

One should therefor, naturally expect, that workers through their labour unions should agitate for their rights, because without been paid as and when due, rights of accessibility to materials that will sustain them are trampled upon. It is unfortunate that in Nigeria we over politicize issue to the extent that the right to good living is been slashed into triviality, with the attendant death toll and lack of credible development, expected from  Government. For example, when you go out  to vote, you voted for those who will hold  i the peoples’ mandate, for anybody who comes out victorious, through these votes, into positions of power, the expectations of the people, of the voters, is that those people in power, will be able to render stewardship and service which will transform into, provision of basic amenities and promotion of functional infrastructure, which in the Nigerian context is lacking. I will advise Government to be proactive on the issue of productivity and efficiency of workers through prompt payment of their dues including those that have  served this nation during their prime ages, to the level of getting into retirement. It is only by this, that we can graciously roll out some rules of law, like ‘No Work No Pay’, based on truancy, sabotage and even what we can term  as rebellious intentions.

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”No Work No Pay ”: An Infringement of Workers’ Fundamental Human Rights- Oyo TUC Chairman

The Federal Government has announced that henceforth, any worker or group of workers that embark on any form of industrial action, will not be paid for the duration  the action lasts. In this interview with Federationews2day, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC)Oyo state council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, says the action of Government is an infringement on the Fundamental Human Rights of workers in the country. Excerpts :

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What is your reaction to Government’s decision to introduce ‘No Work, No Pay’ for the period workers go on strike  ?

We are not surprised by the action of the Federal Government and the position of the  state Governments. You see, when our Government starts behaving like a private sector employer, then we now want to look at the social  contribution  of such state  Governments. But be that as it may, those who have forgotten certain aspects of the Nigerian constitution, especially those dealing with fundamental Human Rights-Right to life, Right to dignity of human person, Right to personal liberty, Right to fair hearing, Right to private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Freedom of Expression and that of the Press, Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association, Right to Freedom of Movement, especially the  section 42 of that chapter four, Right to Freedom from discrimination. So, maybe the state Governments have forgotten all about these. If they can with hold our salaries, claiming that there is no money, and we do the work without much ado and they refuse to pay us, when we now know that they have the money, even at the fact that they live extravagant  lives, indeed, the cost of governance is killing this country.

So, Government will now go ahead to dissuade us from using  whatever means we know, we can use to collect that which is due to us from them, let them start and see. Maybe, they will bring their immediate family, their immediate family  who  are not  even in Nigeria, to start doing the dirty jobs, that we have been doing and then pay them peanuts, that they have been paying us. So, we are not moved, they have said it,  let them exercise it and let’s exercise our rights too and let’s see who will be the first  to blink.

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Workers Welfare: Michael Imoudu as a Role Model 3

Discrimination was the order of the day during the colonial era. In November, 1947, Imoudu led others to demonstrate against racial discrimination at the Bristol Hotel, Lagos. 

In the cause of the demonstration, he was physically assaulted and arrested by the Police.

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However, of worry, is the self-preservation approach of present day labour leaders.

At different times, he mobilized the conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to protest against colonial rule and also workers and peasants for the independence movement led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, during the nationwide tour of the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC), to raise funds and support for the Nigerian delegation to the constitutional conference in London.

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The Labour wing of the NC-Democratic Grand  Alliance, of which Imoudu was a member, won four seats in the Lagos Town Council elections in 1950.

In 1964, Imoudu  led the general strike  against the restriction of Democracy, which was  targeted at compelling the Government to implement the report of the Morgan commission. In addition, he was a member of the Marxist Socialist Workers and Farmers Party.

In the Second Republic, he was Vice President of the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP) led by Mallam Aminu Kano.

His track record formed the basis for his becoming the founding President of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) in 1964. The NLC of today possess a different design and ideology.

Sadly, pragmatic approach to labour issues and concepts remain lacking, even as Labour leaders’ sacrifices and tribulations for Nigerian workers are cosmetic, debatable and trailed by controversy.

Those in the labour struggle, with Imoudu’s frame of mind and character are relatively few and extremely difficult to identify, in these days of ”he who pays the piper, dictates the tune”.

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Our Working Conditions Are Poor and Deplorable-Oyo Teachers

As Teachers, on Thursday, all over the world celebrated the World Teachers day, those in Oyo state have insisted that their working conditions were very poor and deplorable.

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The Teachers, who stated that  the thoughts of their unpaid salaries, have overshadowed any room for  celebration,  however acknowledged that the fact that they were still alive was a good reason to give praises to God.

They made reference to the deteriorating state of schools and the unfriendly environment , they work, as factors that have further affected their morale negatively.

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At the Teachers House, Oluyole estate venue, of the celebration with theme ”Teaching in Freedom,  Empowering Teachers” in Oyo state, the state executive of the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT)executive, secretariat staff, executives of the 33 Local Government chapters of the NUT in the state and  the representative of the state Governor, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela and other invited guests formed the bulk of those who attended the programme.

The state Chairman of the NUT, Comrade Niyi Akano was conspicuously absent, even as some of those in attendance discussed his recent retirement from service.

In his remarks, the secretary of the NUT in the state, Comrade Waheed Olojede maintained that Teachers in the country deserved better treatment.

‘’The declaration of 1966 arose from the meeting of the Ministers of nations, who decided to draw attention of the entire world to the importance of Teachers and the teaching profession and they have come to realize  from that meeting that teaching is the mother of all other professions, and that a Teacher is a moulder, is a builder and so they deserve to be recognized, they deserve to be celebrated and of course they deserve adequate remuneration corresponding to their statuses’’.

” I want to say that elsewhere in some other countries of the world Teachers are taken as some Lords, who must be worshiped, who must be celebrated and who must be given the right quantum of remuneration. But  it is surprising and worrisome here in Nigeria, that Teachers are seen as mere instruments, who must be used and discarded with,  what they experience or go through, in the hands of  a very few, who have today, risen to positions of authority, you now see Teachers becoming objects of neglect, objects of discrimination, objects of starvation and objects of ridicule, which is quite unfortunate.

Comrade Olojede called on Government at all levels to key into the declaration made by the Ministers of nations, by giving Teachers adequate attention and remuneration.

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Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu as a Role Model 2

The need for an increase in wages and better working conditions prompted Imoudu to lead a demonstration from the locomotive yard in Ebute metta, Lagos to the Government House situated at Marina, Lagos Island, Lagos.

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The Governor General of the Colony of Lagos, Bernard Bourdillon noticed that any form of industrial action at that period, could disrupt railway supplies to the coalition, during the Second World War in 1941. It was on this premise he acceded to a 50 per cent pay rise for the workers.

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This success, further inspired Imoudu to put forward more demands, among which were conversion of daily casual labour to salaried employment, Saturday work with pay, permanence of daily labour, holiday travel grant and payment of arrears to cover 1932 to 1942 of unpaid entitlements.

This did not go down well with Bourdillon, who facilitated the termination of Imoudu’s appointment on 23 January, 1943 and also ordered his arrest under the Nigeria General Defense Regulations, 1941.

In quick succession he was relocated and remanded at the Benin prison, while in prison, he influenced inmates to demonstrate against poor feeding and other deplorable prison conditions.

In response, the British Colonial Government in 1943, restricted Imoudu’s movement to the palace of the paramount Chief of Auchi and made an order for him to report twice a week to the Auchi Police station.

As a result of a face off with the District Officer of Auchi and his moves to facilitate the establishment of peasants’ cooperatives for the benefit of peasants in Etsako and Ora, he was again remanded in the Auchi prison.

Some of his comrades, including T.A Bankole openly spoke against Imoudu’s action, to the hearing of the Chief Secretary of Government.

After spending two and a half years in prison, the labour activist was set free.

A mass rally was held at Oko-Awo, Lagos to celebrate his release from prison, while nationalists such as Herbert Macaulay were on ground to grace the occasion.

In June 1945, he successfully led over 30,000 workers to down tools for 44 days.

The industrial action was hinged on the inability of the colonial Government to actualize the promise of Bourdillon in 1942, to review allowances according to living index.

Bourdillon’ successor, Arthur Frederick Richards vigorously refused to pay the allowance.

This resulted in the abrupt end of the unpopular Richards constitution, and set the stage for self government. To be continued.

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Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu As A Role Model 1

The activities of Labour leaders today is the raging  debate among workers in Nigeria. Workers express sadness and worry over the way their leaders handle issues concerning them.

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While the workers continue to wallow in the vicious cycle of poverty, hunger and worry, their leaders insist that they should be patient and show understanding with the Government.

The agility and activeness of labour leaders of the present time, is determined by the political class and not by the deteriorating condition of workers in the country.

Up till this moment, the name Michael  A thokhamien Ominus  Imoudu, represents a good example of a labour leader with a difference within the Nigerian territory and has continued to serve a s a source of inspiration  for the present set of labour leaders. Perhaps.

Imoudu was born on 7, September, 1902, to a Soldier, who had fought in East Africa. His upbringing resulted into his fearless personality. He did not have fear for witches or wizards, master or servant, black or white.

At the age of 14, he began his education at the Government school, Ora. In the course of his education, he received double promotion to standard one. After the death of his Father, the forward looking young Imoudu moved on in his quest for education, at various times at Ontisha, Benin, Sapele, Warri and Agbor.

His adult life revolved on protests against wrong doing by constituted authority. As a student of the Government school, Agbor he staged his first protest.

He led students of the school to protest against the alleged embezzlement of Empire funds by the school’s teachers. This resulted in the manhandling of the Headmaster.

At various times, he worked as linesman in the Department of Post and Telegraph (P and T) in 1928 and an apprentice machinist at the Railway Corporation. He worked tirelessly on three shillings and four pence per day. The work conditions depressed those in the railway and it was noticeable, but the grievances of the railway men were uncoordinated. During the industrial action of the sectional foundery men in 1931, Imoudu spearheaded a platform to fight for the rights of workers. This he made possible by opting to work as journey man at a reduced wage of three shillings per day.

On 20, January, 1940, Imoudu was the only one among his colleagues, who  signed the registration document of the Railway workers union and on 7, October, 1940, Imoudu was elected President of Railway men.  To be continued.