Hardship: Tinubu Has Abused Our Patience, Endurance — NLC Cries Out


Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has accused President Bola Tinubu, of abusing its patience and endurance, dismissing the President’s accusation of being strike freak.

Recall that President Tinubu recently accused the NLC,of not allowing him to breathe with its frequent strikes and threats.

Among others, the President had on Thursday, February 29, at the launching of the Red Line rail transit in Lagos State, said, “Allow me to throw a jibe here, the Labour Union. You should understand that no matter how much we cling to our freedom and rights, you can’t force a strike within nine months of an administration. That is unacceptable.”

Checks by newsmen, however revealed that while the NLC has only gone on strike twice, it also held a nationwide protest twice.

The first strike was on Tuesday September 5, 2023.

It was planned to be a two-day warning strike in preparation for an indefinite nationwide strike later in the same month of September “until steps are taken by the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country.”

However, it only held one day and was suspended after labour leaders reached a compromise with government.

The second strike was in November after the assault and brutalisation of the NLC’s President, Joe Ajaero and other Labour leaders in Owerri, Imo State, on November 1, 2023, by suspected agents of the state including the police.

The nationwide industrial action started on Tuesday, November 14, but was suspended the following day after an agreement was reached between government officials and leaders of NLC and their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC counterparts.

Similarly, the first protest was August 2, 20,203.

The second protest was the recent one held on February 27, 2024 over hardship.

However, there was an early protest on November 1, 2023, by NLC over issues with Imo State government.

Speaking on President Tinubu’s February 29, outburst in Lagos against NLC, one of the leaders of NLC, said “We want to quickly inform Mr. President that we do not owe him any explanation as to why we chose either to go or not to go on strike or protest as long as it is within our democratic rights to so do in defense of the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers and people. However, the President’s expressed anger at the decision of Nigerian workers via the NLC to engage his gross misgovernance of the Nigerian nation since assumption of office either speaks to his lack of understanding of the objective realities of hunger and deprivation confronting the Nigerian people or a continuation of his abuse of the patience and perseverance of the NLC.

“It is unfortunate that for a President who pledged to be driven by the tenets of social dialogue during his inauguration to now fret about some of its tools is baffling. One wonders why Mr. President would be surprised when his action at inauguration negates his promises of sticking to social dialogue and directly inflicts pain and hardship on workers and the masses? It will be irresponsible for NLC to keep quiet. If the President had followed his avowals and due process and consulted widely, we may not be in this present socioeconomic quandary that his ill-thought policies have subjected the people to.

NLC has demonstrated unusual restraint dealing with this government believing that it will change its behaviour but the government has not shown enough character and integrity not to abuse this level of restraint.

“What the government has rather done was to continue reneging on every promise and on every agreement. They say that action and reaction are equal and opposite, so does it not cross the mind of the President that his actions in the first few months in office may have been too many for a government? And, may have elicited what he called ..unacceptable?

“In any case, the NLC as the continued conscience and voice of the masses will continue in its primary roles and will not be deterred by the vituperation of Mr. President. It is also important that we tell the President that we have only gone on strike once since he came into office.

“The others were not strikes but Rallies and we are sure that the handlers of the President including those at the Labour Ministry should educate him better. It is not our fault that they are misleading him and refusing to tell him the difference between strikes and rallies.

“We also took notice of the hidden threat in the outburst and that explains to Nigerians the unfortunate abduction and brutalization of the President of NLC; comrade Joe Ajaero in Owerri and the apparent refusal of the government to prosecute those who they claim to have arrested up till today. It also clears the air to us as to who procured the agents provocateurs during our last peaceful nationwide rally.

“We are sure that the whole world is no longer deceived as to the source of the continued use of violence and bloodletting in otherwise democratic engagements across the nation. As usual, we continue to be committed to the protection of the rights of workers and the interests of the masses no matter the depth of the threats based on our historical understanding that the power of the people will eventually triumph over their oppressors.

“We have told the President that we are not after his job but are only interested in protecting the interests and rights of Nigerian workers and peoples. As long as he continues abusing our patience by refusing to comply with agreements and as long as he continues inflicting pains on the people, we will continue engaging his government with our age-long tools which he benefitted from including new ones that are available to us.

“If it could take the President just one day in office to inflict extraordinary suffering on Nigerians, one wonders why the President is aghast! We had thought that the President should have wondered why we had not embarked on more strikes! As he has been advised, addressing the myriads of problem he has foisted on Nigerians would be more appreciated by Nigerian workers and people than weeping over the cries of the people afflicted by his policies. Working hard to deliver tangible results to Nigerians and not propaganda is the best way to go instead of the unfortunate political calculations.

“Nonetheless, if he is afraid of the power of the masses whom we speak for, the best thing to do is to put the interest of the people at the heart of government’s policies and action. If he does not receive plaudits from us then, his unpresidential remarks may be acceptable.”


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