by Charly Boy
On February 8, 2017, I tweeted about joining the NLC on their walk for good governance. I was really not too surprised at the kinds of responses I got from fellow frustrated Nigerians: My people just dey query me as per how somebody like me go come gum body with NLC “Fake” people like that.
For starters, let me make this clear; If the devil like make him hold rally, I go appear to use that platform to send my message to my fellow frustrated Naijas. Until I posted a tweet about marching with NLC in Lagos, I didn’t realise how most Nigerians had lost respect/trust for the union. In fact, one of the feedbacks I received blaming the compromised NLC for the death of a family member really evoked some strange feelings in me.
The Late Dr Oghenetega Umukoro battled diabetes for 20 years. His condition, however, became particularly difficult in 2014 because he was an employee of a state in this country owing workers 6 months Salary. He had been solely dependent on various degrees of loans to not just manage the sickness but also manage his family – A beautiful family of three boys and a girl. He lost his wife Elizabeth in 2011 due to childbirth complications. His miserable life of sickness; struggling to pay tuition fees for his children’s education, poor feeding and debilitating cost of general upkeep for the family, led to further complications medically and he died a few months ago. His corpse has been in the mortuary for well over 4 months now, his children are all alone and have no idea what the future holds. The brief story of late Dr Oghenetega Umukoro of blessed memory is the story of the Nigerian Public and Private Sector Worker and Workforce.
It’s on record that President Buhari first gave a N350billion Salary Stimulus pack for 27 State Government. The first in the history of this country and was continually giving further bailouts and support to every state of the Federation totalling over four bailouts and budget support. Recently every state of the Federation got on the Average between N10bbillion-14.5Billion from the Paris Club Debt Refunds and it is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari impressed it on state Governors to do the right thing because he is constitutionally handicapped to enforce financial fiscal discipline at the state Level. If the President can understand the suffering of the people in the ghetto and as a result of his desire to cushion the suffering of the workers provide Bailouts totally about N3 Trillion Since 2015 under two years what has organised labour done to support the President? I no see anything oh! And sadly, most Governors squandered the Bailout and did not pay the workers that the funds were meant for, while Labour siddon dey look like mumu.
NLC/TUC and organised Labour Leaders have been silent, complacent and I believe mago magoly benefitted from those bailouts that were dedicated to the suffering ordinary civil servants. They did not and could not mobilise to fight the roguish governors and for the workers because the suffering of the labour force had become abstract to the leadership of Labour. Organized Labour has become an enemy of the Nigerian people.
From the National Health Insurance Scheme; to various housing schemes of government; to programmes for the reduction in pregnancy and childbirth related deaths, The leadership of organised labour in Nigeria has been ineffective and compromised in the battles for workers’ rights. They are insensitive and have played no noticeable and viable role in the monitoring and investigation of the frauds of government and governance on behalf of the Nigerian people in the National Assembly; the Judiciary; Failing MDAs; State and Local Governments.
NLC and TUC were in this country and practically endorsed the last decade of audacious mismanagement and mindless insane looting of our treasury; I just dey vex!. They were silent, incoherent, undisciplined, selfish, greedy and destructive, to say the least. NLC and TUC have been at the forefront of the corruption of the Nigerian workforce and the destruction of the moral values of the Nigerian workforce. The leadership of organised labour has come to symbolise what has been wrong with our collective being in this country. Oh! how I wish the Labour Leadership of old can be resurrected.
I was the one who used to mobilise Lagos state in those days for NLC under the leadership of the character called Adams Oshiomole. That one had a habit of calling off strikes, doing different James Bond on Naijas. I backed out when I discovered him way no be my way.
What I got from people’s negative responses to this rally is that the NLC and TUC are alone in their battle against the President. And this is purportedly so because the NLC were silent when Nigerians were buying PMS at over N200/litre when it was officially N86.50/Litre; they are silent as the cost of living skyrockets every blessed day, they are silent when workers are not paid salaries for months in different states and are not as engaging when the suffering people needs them the most. State governors owe workers up to 12months salary. I swear, Na God go punish all the bad people amongst us after the masses deal with them very soon.
The NLC and TUC Leadership have continually Ignored the Criminality and Looting by the National Assembly over the Past Decade. The Hypocrisy of organised labour leadership is blatantly open for all Nigerians to see. They have been fighting the wrong battles under the guise of fighting for the people, forgetting that a battle for the people must be owned by the people. I may have marched with them, but their ways are not my ways. I dey hope say dem go change and begin answer their true calling or else, fellow frustrated Nigerians will occupy their headquarters until sanity is restored again.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija