By Victor Ahiuma-Young
General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, Issa Aremu, has said though protest is a right in a democracy, but faulted the planned protest for tomorrow.
A member of the National Executive Council of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Aremu who spoke in Ilorin, Kwara State, contended that “the challenges of insecurity, bad governance and corruption facing the nation call for developmentalist news that promote productivity, dignity of labour, peace, unity and harmony. There are the values that should be celebrated.
Aremu who is also the Vice President, African Region, IndustriALL Global Union, admonished the nation’s media to help in deepening democracy through publications of news that would foster nation building rather than providing vents for what he “calls anti-democratic forces.”
Speaking at the 60th birthday and retirement send forth for Alhaji Mohammed Tunde Akanbi of Radio Kwara Ilorin, Aremu urged journalists to emulate the track record of Tunde Akanbi in “reporting the truths, not fake news, in promoting news that will create jobs for the youths, reopen closed factories, ensure peace and harmony in the community.”
According to him, “the challenges of insecurity, bad governance and corruption facing the nation call for what he called developmentalist news that promote productivity, dignity of labour, peace, unity and harmony. These are the values that should be celebrated.”
He praised the celebrant for what he called “blessing of long and quality life in a country of shortened life expectancy due to infant mortality, maternal mortality, road accidents, fatal robberies, fake drugs and fake food, and various forms of insecurity”.
On the planned protests by some groups tomorrow, Aremu observed that protests were legitimate in a democracy, recalling what he called 40 years of NLC’s legitimate struggles for minimum wage, against petroleum price increases, against insecurity, for revival of industry, against military dictatorship and for democracy adding that labour’ struggles had helped to deepen democracy for better inclusive welfare in the country.
He however argued that “legitimate protest in a democracy is not the same thing as “emergency revolution” and anarchy as being promoted by what he called “anti- democratic forces” tomorrow.
He recalled that one of the conveners of the proposed protest was Mr Omoyele Sowore who he said was also the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, who lost in 2019 presidential election.
NUTGTWN scribe said Sowore should rather prepare for the next elections in 2023 as a mark of abiding faith in democratic process, saying “No short cut to nation building as we have seen in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. The road to development in Nigeria and Africa is deepening democracy not anarchy. The media should not give vent to anti democratic forces under any guises. All progressive forces must demand for good democratic governance as much as condemn any attempt at undermining democracy either through red- hearing and unprincipled outrage or police over reaction, both he said can only undermine the democratic process.”