Comrade (Engr) Festus Osifo (TUC President)


The first Central Working Committee (CWC) of SESCAN (1988 – 1991) under the leadership of Comrade Kila was not only eventful but also challenging. Its first major task was to contend with the arrest, detention and subsequent imprisonment of eleven officers of the SSAUSCGOC who were the representatives of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) Branch of the union over a strike action called to protest Government’s retrogressive policies in the energy sector.

During this administration SESCAN participated in party politics in Nigeria.  In conjunction with the NLC, it became involved with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

SESCAN crossed another milestone in 1991 when its first Secretariat was opened by Comrade Kila at No. 3 Opeloyeru Street, Onipanu, Ikorodu Road, Lagos. This made it possible for the centre to acquire its own library and various office equipment. Prior to this, the Secretariat of SESCAN had been hosted by the Secretariat of Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA) at 79 Tejuosho Street, Surulere, Lagos. The Secretariat was manned by an Administrative Secretary, Comrade Dan Uhumangho.


The second Central Working Committee (CWC) of SESCAN (1992 – 1997) was headed by Comrade S. A. Sowemimo as President, with Comrade M. Dabibi as its Secretary General. It found itself involved in the political ferment of that period under the brutal regime of General Sani Abacha that heralded vicious suppression of both workers’ and people’s rights including all facets of democratic governance. The struggle for the enthronement of democracy and the restoration of M. K. O. Abiola’s presidential mandate saw SESCAN’s Dabibi in the frontline, a move that subsequently lead to his incarceration along with other national leaders.

The third Central Working Committee (CWC) of SESCAN (1997 – 2000) which came on board on 30th of January, 1997 after delays due to the repressive years of General Sani Abacha’s administration was led by Comrade (Alhaji) Aliyu Ohindase of SSAUSCGOC as the President General while Comrade H. Ozegbe of AUTOBATE became the Secretary General. It maintained the robustness of the Sowemimo leadership and embarked on aggressive quest for the inclusion of SESCAN in all tripartite labour-related bodies. This culminated in SESCAN’s first official participation in May Day activities with Government’s recognition in the year 2000.

The fourth Central Working Committee (CWC) of SESCAN (2000 – 2004) was elected at the Triennial National Delegates Conference held in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State in October 2000. It was led by Comrade Shina Luwoye as President General and Comrade S. A. Onaghinon as Secretary General. This CWC committed itself to fully utilise all available opportunities under the emerging democratic dispensation to gain statutory recognition and representation for SESCAN as well as repositioning it for better service delivery to its affiliates, and for greater social relevance in the affairs of Nigeria.

It is to the credit of the Shina Luwoye led CWC that SESCAN was able to achieve greater national visibility through its proactive efforts. In the year 2001 it ensured a change of name from SESCAN to Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to reflect its status as a labour centre rather than the consultative status that was foisted on it. It kick-started the process of creating TUC state councils in all the states of Nigeria to ensure adequate representation of our affiliates and members in all corners of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This has since been fully achieved and is now being sustained.

It also created the TUC Women Wing also known as Women-in-TUC to cater for the special needs of women. Women-in-TUC’s first chairperson, Comrade (Mrs.) Halima Abdullahi was also a National Trustee of the TUC but her deputy, Comrade (Mrs.) Peace N. Obiajulu, then President of SSAUSCGOC, was requested to occupy the seat at the CWC. The name Women-in-TUC was subsequently changed to TUC Women Commission in the year 2004.

The fifth Central Working Committee (CWC) of TUC (2004 – 2007) was inaugurated at Gateway Hotel, Ota, Ogun State during the Triennial National Delegates Conference of February 2004. Comrade (Mrs.) Peace N. Obiajulu emerged as the President General. She was the first woman to be so elected both in Nigeria and in the whole of Africa. Comrade John Kolawole was the Secretary General.

Comrade Obiajulu’s administration pursued the removal of all offensive and anti-labour laws in the nation’s statutes which had hitherto made it difficult for workers’ organisations to operate freely. This led to the Trade Union (Amendment) Act of 2005 that allows for the registration of other labour centres. The TUC was later registered and granted its certificate of registration under this leadership. Comrade Obiajulu’s tenure also has to its credit the relocation of the National Secretariat of TUC to its more befitting present office at No. 338, Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Lagos. Since then the TUC has grown in leaps and bounds in every sphere of the struggle and in national political life.

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) was also led by Comrade Peter Esele who was first elected in 2007 at the Triennial National Delegates Conference held at Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. He was re-elected for a second term during the 8th Triennial National Delegates Conference held in Benin on the 19th day of March, 2010. His vibrant and proactive leadership style resulted in his two-term tenure heralding tremendous boost in the national and international public image and reckoning of TUC as a strong and responsive people-oriented labour centre.

In December, 2012 the National Executive Council (NEC) under Comrade Esele’s leadership adopted a new TUC Constitution which, among other things, changed the title of “President General” to “President.”  His administration also incorporated TUC’s investment arm, TUC Transport and Investment Company Limited (TUC T & I), which provides employment for over 400 people and commenced business in May 2012 by acquiring and operating 150 luxurious buses under a mass transit scheme providing affordable transport for workers and other Nigerians. Comrade (Barr.) Musa Lawal became the Secretary General in December 2012, few months before the end of Comrade Esele’s second term in office.

At the 9th Triennial National Delegates Conference held in Abuja on 20th – 21st of June, 2013, the mantle of leadership fell on Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama. During his first tenure (June 2013 – June 2016), Comrade Kaigama took steps to strengthen the Congress mainly through four areas: establishment of a Liaison Office in Abuja; increase in number of affiliate unions; construction of mass housing estates in Abuja and various states of Nigeria for members of the Congress; and development of stronger ties with the Congress’ social partners within and outside the country. On 3rd of June, 2016, prompted by Comrade Kaigama’s visionary and result-oriented leadership style, the delegates at the 10th Triennial National Delegates Conference in Abuja returned him unopposed for a second tenure in office.

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