By Victor Ahiuma-Young, Ola Ajayi & Akinwunmi Bello
LEADERS of organised labour and their allies in the civil society groups, yesterday in Ibadan asked Nigerians to prepare to fight government over plan to remove fuel subsidy and inflict more hardship on them.
This is coming even as the residents of Ibadan appealed to labour not to allow the government to do any thing that could worsen their suffering, lamenting that they are finding it difficult to cope with the hardship.
At the continuation of their ongoing nationwide rally against deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum sector, full implementation of Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) report, and demand for review of minimum wage,, leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its civil society allies, said the struggle to ensure the full implementation of Justice Uwais report was to ensure that people like Professor Maurice Iwu do not conduct any election in Nigeria again.
Under the umbrella of Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), the rally which attracted thousands of Ibadan residents, paralysed activities along major streets in the ancient city enroute government House, Agodi.
Led by NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, the protesters said the ongoing rally was to sensitize Nigerians to prepare for the struggle ahead should the government fail to listen to the voice of reason.
As they marched along the major streets, elated residents were chanting in Yoruba â€œPlease, do not allow government to increase our sufferings. We are hungry. No money to buy food to eat. Prices of garri, pepper, oil and other foodstuffs have gone beyond our reach. Please, fight for us. Please help us say no to deregulation of the oil sector. We are suffering. We can no longer fend for ourselves. Help us say no tyranny and oppression. Please save us.â€
At the government house, it was discovered that neither the governor nor his deputy was on ground to receive the protesters as both were said to have hurriedly left the state for nearby local government.
This did not go down well with the leaders of LASCO, and Comrade Omar did not hide their feelings, saying in all the PDP controlled states so far visited, the governors had formed the habit of not receiving the protesting workers and noted that the attitude speaks volume.
According to him: â€œOur mission is to communicate with the people of Oyo State on the implementation of minimum wage to 52,000, Uwais Electoral Report and oil deregulation. In all the states we have visited, none of the PDP controlled state governors accepted us. So, the absence of Akala today has no meaning to us. We know that they would run awayâ€. Leaders of LASCO however presented their letter of protest to the Governorâ€™s Chief of Staff, Dr. Saka Balogun