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Published On: Wed, Oct 16th, 2019

View NLC’s threat from another perspective

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By Alifia Sunday

What is so special about NLC’ threat?
Nigeria Labour Congress has warned Nigerians to brace up, stock pile food items and get set for planned industrial strike. Although, the strike might not hold due to government intervention. This threat is good and it has always been the best way to draw government attention to the yearnings and aspiration of workers. In the nineties and even down to the era of former president Obasanjo and Jonathan, labour Union were vibrant to the point that OBJ confessed that ” we have two president in Nigeria; himself and Oshiohmole the labour president then. Labour’ activities then does not stopped on minimum wage or salary adjustment alone, it cut across the welfare of Nigerians generally; government policies that appeared to be anti people; incessant prices of fuel increase and a whole lot.
It will be recalled that when former President Jonathan dared the country by attempting to remove fuel subsidy to nail the alarming revelation of corruption perpetrated in the name of subsidy, the entire country was occupied and headed by labour then, Nigerian stood still with labour having seen the need for subsidy to avoid subjecting the poor majority into more hardship.
How do we describe the kind of labour leadership we have paraded since inception of Buhari led administration who have kept mute in the face of policy Summersault of the federal government in the last 5 years? Where were Nigerian labour congress when fuel price was jerked up from #87 during Jonathan administration to #145 in 2015 when President Buhari assumed office? Labour union were divided then and because of their discordant tune then, they were unable to slug it out with the federal government to backpedal action on the new fuel price regime. Where were labour union when the CBN embarked on forex policy and the monetary policy that kept dollar to where it is til today? Have they gone into Jonah’s sleep in the belly of fish when borders were closed against the importation of rice even though our indigenous producers don’t have the capacity to produce rice sufficiently? The latest policy that is anti people is that of VAT increase from 5% to 7.5%. Did it occurred to labour union that the aftermath effect of the increment on the poor majority would be grievous? Yes, we always make references to other climate like China closed borders, several countries did same and that our VAT in Nigeria is the least, but we are so myopic and failed to realise that modalities have between put on ground in those countries we are sighting to cushion the effect of whatever policies that is being implemented.
So, did labour union noticed this or as Some said that it is labour fallen apart which invariably means things fall apart? others said labour died the day Adams Ohiomhole former president of the union left. Those who said labour leadership has been infiltrated by Abuja politicians could be equally right.
Labour should fight holistically and across strata and not just for minimum wage alone. Nigerians no longer take them serious.

Alifia Sunday is a Public Affair Commentator.

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