The suspension of the planned nationwide strike and protest over the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol pump price by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has again, created another debacle in the public domain.
The unions were said to have reached agreement with the Federal Government. The agreement between the Federal Government and the organized labour, was for the hike in electricity tariff to be suspended for a period of 2 weeks, while the new pump price of petrol is to remain unchanged. According to the agreement, which was seen by The News Chronicles, both parties agreed to set up a technical committee on Electricity Tariff reforms, comprising Ministries, Agencies, Departments, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of 2 weeks with effect from Monday, September 28, 2020, to examine the justification of the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.
However, the action of the organized labour left many Nigerians befuddled; with some wondering if the unions have been out rightly bought over. This is because since the emergence of the current leadership, there have been no meaningful impact of the unions despite the litany of tragedies rocking the African giant.
In view of the repugnant decision by the unions, our correspondent took to the streets of Nigeria to sample opinions of the masses. Below are some of the feedbacks:
Joyce Onotseogbana Okiti Esq.
You and I know that the year any public office holder ever represented the interest of Nigerians was in 1960, just before independence. Ever since then, everyone who alleges any form of public representation in the interest of Nigerians does only what will satisfy their own interest. I am not surprised that the NLC leader backed off from embarking on the proposed strike.
The action was proposed in order to get the attention of the federal executive and all their stakeholders. As usual, they had their private deliberations without consulting those whose interests they claim to be representing. NLC is not representing the interest of any Nigerian except the leaders themselves.
Engr. Solomon Onitsha
It is sad to say we are in Democratic system instead of kakistocracy system. A system where the less intelligent men are ruling the intelligent men will never know progress. The Nigerian Labour Congress can never be different from the Nigerian government who represent no other interest other than their own. The Nigeria Labour Congress under the present leadership is not but what I will call a toothless bulldog, this type of dog that will embark on an initial barking and begins to fight its puppies because of a little bone thrown at it. No system in Nigeria is working and none has ever worked and whoever has hope in any system to work in Nigeria will only die in expectance. A country that cannot provide for its citizens after 60 years should simply go for retirement (disintegration). Corruption has been legalized in Nigeria and no government official sees it as a crime. They can smile when currency has exchange hands. The Nigeria Labour Congress is only working to enrich themselves and not for the interest of the populace.
Joy Nzei – Sales Rep
I have always said it that the people we have in authority are as good as movie directors. We are all just part of a script. Our country is now a drama stage where all the citizenry can do is clap and cheer when happy and complain when unhappy with what the actors perform on stage. Guess what? It ends at that. All talk, and no action. End of the day, we enter our houses and sleep. We resume that ‘e no concern me’ status. Meanwhile, people are barely trying to get by each day. As long as we have food to eat and data to browse, we are fine. Honestly, it is pathetic!
For me, I am really not surprised they called it off. Nothing surprises me again on this stage. It’s like watching the same drama again. Very predictable! I hear people complaining and I wonder. What were they expecting? Let’s just continue to be the good audience that we are, accepting whatever the directors and actors bring on stage.
Favour Ajieh – Insurance Marketer
Well, I see them as same, just pretending in the eyes of the citizens. They all know what they are doing, these are all strategies to fool Nigerians, and many people knew the strike won’t hold. What was the outcome of the meeting we don’t know, we only know it has been suspended and the increment in tariff suspended for 2weeks. It’s the same corrupt people that are there so what can possibly be the outcome? It’s only God that will rescue us from the hands of these leaders.
It’s possible they offered NLC something but who knows. The state of this country is every man for himself and God for all. We don’t have a voice.
Kemisola Habeeb Akinsoji – Fashion Designer
They are representing their very pocket. There’s no interest of the populace in their heart at all. I’m very sure they have been bribed to have called off the strike just like that. In this country every man with his own palava, no one has the interest of anybody at heart. Everyone dey fight for e mouth.
Paul Ikpotor – Student
It’s worrisome that the labour unions that ought to be hope of the common man have been compromised. I am particularly disturbed at the direction this nation is going. Obviously, the unions don’t have the interest of Nigerians at heart because calling off the strike did not help Nigerians but for their selfish interest. The question is did FGN reduce the price of anything before calling off the strike?
To be honest, the actions of the NLC just shows they didn’t have our interest at heart. The strike was supposed to happen probably because the excos of the union hadn’t gotten a share of the “national cake”. Once they had done that, the interest of the masses flew out the window. The masses were the bait for their personal interest to be noticed and attended to.
Chidimma Ikegwonu – Artist
We know ourselves in this country. All those gragra was for them to collect their share. I knew the protest was not going to hold. Sincerely, the solution to the problems of this country is not about prayers anymore, everybody needs to come out and say they are tired of what is happening. This country is messed up. The truth is that our leaders are killing us, they have sold their souls to corruption; they have their heads abroad while their anus is at home so they no longer reason well. The only thing they think of is how much will enter their account. There is no space for the youths because these old men are not tired of stealing.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is an umbrella organization for trade unions in Nigeria. It was founded in 1978 following a merger of four different organisations: Nigeria Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Labour Unity Front (LUF), United Labour Congress (ULC) and Nigeria Workers Council (NWC). The numerous affiliated unions were restructured into 42 industrial unions. Its founding President was Wahab Goodluck. The current president of the NLC is Comrade Ayuba P. Wabba mni.