By Comrade Peters Adeyemi
THURSDAY, September 27, 2012, Labour Vanguard published Comrade Adeyemi’s response to Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, interview on alleged plot to break the NLC. This is the concluding part.
WE only need to make reference to one or two opinion to get an idea of how disenchanted Nigerians are with the remnants of the NLC. For this, we take the views of well known conservative journalist, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu and that of the radical liberal intellectual, Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim.
Writing under the title, “Economic Saboteurs in Our Midst”, in ThisDay of Monday August 27, 2012, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu wrote, among other things that: what is expected of NUPENG and NLC is to push for improved management of the fuel subsidy scheme and the prosecution of fraudulent oil marketers and their accomplices in the public sector that the government continues to shield. When they threaten to stop fuel supply and hold the government and nation to ransom, what they don’t realize is that they become allies of the fraudsters in the system and will be painted with the same brush.”
On his part, Dr. Ibrahim wondered, in an article entitle: “Is me the fuel subsidy cabal too powerful,” and wrote, inter alia: “The Nigeria Labour Congress owes Nigerians an explanation for their shameful action in support of the mega thieves. How can they come out to openly support the mega thieves?
“In January, we had engaged in a struggle in which lives were lost to compel Government to look inward at their friends in the oil cabal who were responsible for the spectacular increase in the amount of money spent on the so called fuel subsidy.
Prosecution of the cabal We called for investigation and prosecution of the cabal. When NLC chickened out of the struggle, their excuse was that they had been threatened. Who is threatening them now to support the same cabal that we fought against? They must apologize to Nigerians for selling out.
“Government must be very pleased with itself that the trade unions are now wheelers and dealers and are no longer in a position to organize a credible strike but are available to organize strikes on behalf of those looting our national treasury.”
The conclusive import of these two arguments made on a same day but from different parts of the country in two frontline national dailies in Nigeria located in different and distant cities from each other shows that both conservatives and radicals have agreed that the NLC does not exist for Nigerians anymore but for a clueless cabal.
So, it became more than clear to us in the Non-Academic Stall Union, NASU, that we were risking too much lasting damage to our relationship with the wider movement, the building of which has our bold imprint. We recall that NASU and its principal officers have every reason to be proud our contribution to the building of a modern labour movement symbolized by the NLC up to March, 2011.
Our Union was proscribed by the Abacha regime between 1996 and 1998 for hosting NLC affiliates who determined to maintain the independence of the NLC from the government. Not only did we lead our Union to survive this proscription bill we were also of the Caretaker Committee that emerged to reconstitute the NLC following the demise of Abacha in 1998.
Our Union was in the forefront of all that was positive during the- eight years of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s leadership of Congress where our immediate past President served as Deputy and later, Treasurer of Congress. So, we ask: where were people like Omar when some of us were making these sacrifices to build the labour movement?
He was nowhere and that is why the conspiracy of branding our alternative as government inspired will not work because he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
Comrade Adeyemi is the General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).