This is a strike of sabotage by political opposition, masquerading as Labour leaders. Essentially, it is Joe Ajaero abusing his lordship of the workers union for personal agenda and politics
At the prompting of NLC leader Joe Ajaero, supporters of the Labour Party masquerading as workers on Thursday blocked the major highway to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
For more than four hours early morning travellers were held in the traffic as Ajaero’s party men turned the highway into a bedlam, claiming they were avenging the attack on Ajaero in Owerri, capital of Imo. Because there was no forewarning about the blockade, no police permit, people missed their flights and I learnt some had to pay the airlines additional money to reschedule their departure.
It took the intervention of the army and the police to clear the unwarranted madness displayed by the supporters of the little ‘big man’ of NLC, who felt the rest of the country must suffer because his ego was bruised by Imo state workers. The use of Labour platform by Ajaero to prosecute his personal political agenda in his home state of Imo is an abuse that must be condemned by all men and women of goodwill.
The International Labour Organisation should take note of this unprecedented abuse of every known convention. Outside the Abuja airport blockade, Ajaero has also instigated Imo workers to go on strike, shut down the airport, cut off power supply and in the most draconian demonstration of tyranny by a labour leader, he is threatening that Saturday’s election in his home state will not take place.
This is rascality taken too far. Ajaero is overstretching the limit of law and rights. His actions are now within the remit of treason with his threat to create a constitutional crisis in Imo State. He was quoted to have said that nothing is wrong if INEC postpones the scheduled Saturday election, a case of a labour leader posturing that he is bigger than the Nigerian state. Nigerians should by now be getting the full picture of the openly partisan Joe Ajaero, the full picture of what he really is.
As leader of NLC, he does not believe in dialogue. Strike is the only and ultimate weapon in his arsenal. He is the first labour leader to declare open partisanship and membership of the Labour Party and the first to abuse his position as NLC leader to shut down a Nigerian state, all because he claimed he was beaten by the police.
The police rebutted his claim and said Ajaero was beaten by the same workers he used subterfuge to call out to attend a rally in support of his Labour Party. I am surprised that the usually reasonable TUC is tagging along and together, they are planning to shut down the country from Tuesday, without mandatory notice of a trade dispute, all because they want to punish Nigerians for the alleged maltreatment Ajaero claimed he got in Owerri.
The decision to go on strike was taken at the National Executive Council (NEC) session of the NLC and the TUC on Tuesday. The unions did not indicate that the impending strike is because government failed to implement the Memorandum of Understanding they reached with government, following fuel subsidy removal. They would have had no case if the MOU was their casus belli.. Several weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council, chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved and adopted wholesale the MOU.
Some of the agreements in the MOU are being implemented. The wage award of N35,000 to Federal workers is being paid. The N25,000 to be paid over 6 months to 15 million households is also being executed. Government removed the 7.5% VAT on diesel as demanded by the Labour Movement and last week launched the Compressed Natural Gas vehicles, which it promised to provide countrywide.
It is thus utterly surprising that despite all the efforts by government to improve the economy and reduce living cost pressure on the masses, labour still contemplates going on strike and shutting down the economy. It is clear that what Labour is championing is no more in the interest of Nigerian people and the workers.
This is a strike of sabotage by political opposition, masquerading as Labour leaders. Essentially, it is Joe Ajaero abusing his lordship of the workers union for personal agenda and politics. My advice is that Ajaero should separate his person from his leadership of the NLC. For alleging he was bruised in Imo, he should seek redress in the court. He can sue the police if he truly believes the police assaulted him. He should not for selfish political reasons and brazen partisanship plunge the country into chaos.