By Peters Adeyemi
NIGERIA Labour Congress,NLC, President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, is surprisingly still lost in severe hallucination about the NLC being broken up by external actors, notably the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In an interview published in the Vanguard of Thursday, September 6, 2012, Omar said the federal government is still attempting; to break-up the NLC “by using some of the: aggrieved members who lost during our last election by telling them that they can form their labour centre.”
This is absolutely surprising because it shows conclusively that the NLC President does not appreciate or accept that more than any other thing else, it is his monumental cluelessness that is at the heart of the break-up of the NLC and the current effort to form an alternative centre.
This age-old trick of associating the idea of an alternative centre to a government agenda in order to discredit it has, therefore, already failed because everyone now knows that the crisis in NLC is squarely a consequence of the error in the recruitment of Comrade Omar as NLC President. The Comrade came to NLC leadership with a deformity of background that could neither be cured nor managed.
It is even more shameful and tragic if Omar’s comment in the said interview is viewed against the backdrop of a recent statement dated May 23, 2012 which he signed. In the statement, Omar disclaimed a press release issued by an acting General Secretary of the NLC as a “regrettable statement.”
According to Omar, “Congress noted that at no time was there a decision to engage any of the affiliate unions of the NLC, including great unions like NASU and NUHPSW in unnecessary media exchanges and war of attrition over issues that are purely internal and clearly surmountable.”
For this infraction, the said acting General Secretary was not only removed but was directed to apologize to the federal government, and he did. Less than five months after that, Omar, who presided over that meeting is seen engaged in a similar blackmail.
What made past NLC leaders thick
No matter what anyone may say against past leaders of the NLC, each and every one of them demonstrated a mastery of the theory and practice of labour leadership, the ideological culture of trade unionism, ‘the morality of union leadership, the language of union leadership, the discipline, focus and sense of sacrifice of union Leadership. Omar has been the only exception, no thanks to his irredeemable cluelessness.
Instead of disciplining himself to understand what trade union leadership entails, Omar has been busy running from pillar to post, buying and selling blackmail and strategies of acquiring and consolidating power that are totally strange to the tradition of relentless, open self criticism practiced in our movement across the world.
Obsession with this approach to leadership meant that he was humiliating both himself and the NLC before history. Unfortunately, it never bothered him to realize that no other outside interests or forces but himself, was breaking up the NLC.
How for instance, would the NLC that Nigerians know when the NLC President willfully destroyed the Secretarial- the intellectual and bureaucratic engine room of Congress simply because Omar lacks the capacity to read and internalize basic documents and positions of the NLC ideological backgrounds of such positions.
The situation reached a point where those who recollect the- struggles which brought about the NLC needed to think seriously about building a new fighting movement from the ashes of the NLC, the Omars of this world can continue to hallucinate about a so-called government agenda even as this same Omar has not only converted the NLC to the labour annex of a Government House, but also cultivated the culture of going from Government House to Government House looking for what only he himself knows.
The point is that NLC is extinct, it is gone and Omar and, those acting in league with him cannot re-build it because they lack the vision, orientation and the practical ability. Imagine, for one, that the primary union of the- President of the NLC has, for over a year now, stopped paying affiliation dues from its national secretariat to the NLC.
That is the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT. They must have come to the conclusion that Omar has betrayed and is not fighting for the welfare of teachers and Nigerian workers. Despite several delegations to plead with the NUT high command, there has been no change of position.
This is beside the tactical show of shame in January when NLC sold out very cheaply on the fuel subsidy struggle just when the struggle was about to yield results. It took the House of Representatives’ probe panel to bring out the magnitude of the figures of fraud involved in the subsidy scam. To be continued
Comrade Adeyemi is the General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).