No going back on strike: NLC sends emotional Oct 1 message to Nigerians

 

As Nigerians today mark the nation’s 63 Independence anniversary, Organised Labour, yesterday, asked citizens, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political differences, to join the nationwide strike it called from October 3, saying it is the march to freedom, better living conditions and prosperity for all.

Through the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Organised Labour also pleaded with royal fathers and other well-meaning Nigerians to advise government to listen to labour and lessen the suffering across the country.

“This nation can work for all of us. This nation can be made beautiful but good things do not just happen; they are worked out. Liberty is not a ripe fruit that falls to the ground on its own accord. With our hands joined together as the owners of Nigeria, in truth and one heart, we can work for our freedom. Let us awaken this giant and make it work for us,” the NLC said in an emotional tone.

This came as Sunday Vanguard learnt that the Federal Government is expected to meet with labour leaders today in Abuja in an effort to avert the planned strike beginning from October 3.

In an independent anniversary massage titled Nigeria: ‘The travails of a mismanaged giant’, NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said the struggle from October 3 is for Nigeria to rise and shine once more as a beacon of hope and prosperity for all its citizens.

Ajaero noted that Nigeria, with all its flaws at conception, possesses a great potential to be amongst the best economies of the world.

“As we mark this Independence Day, let us do so with a renewed sense of purpose. Let us acknowledge our past, confront our present challenges, and collectively work towards a brighter future for Nigeria,” he stated.

“Together, we can reclaim the greatness that has eluded us for too long. It is time for Nigeria to rise and shine once more as a beacon of hope and prosperity for all its citizens. Remember, when we stand as one refusing to be divided, we will triumph. We call on all Nigerians to join us on the 3rd day of October around Nigeria to begin our march to freedom through the indefinite nationwide strike.

”To this end, the Nigeria Labour Congress beckons on all of us to join hands from all parts of the nation; the North, the East, the West and the South to build the needed coalition to make our nation truly an independent nation.

“As we celebrate Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary, it is important that we drew our attention to the fact that this nation was once a great nation filled with great hope inspired by great leaders until inept and corrupt leaders took over the helms of affairs and ran the country aground. The crisis of leadership is truly the crisis of our national development.

Mismanagement

“The continued mismanagement of our resources has made it difficult for us a nation and as a people to make sustainable progress rather, we have continued to march backwards with every preceding year looking worse than the previous one.

“Regrettably, the decades that followed were marked by a series of missteps, mismanagement, and missed opportunities. The erosion of ethical governance, rampant corruption, and political instability became defining features of our nation. Instead of harnessing our potential for the collective good, our leaders often pursued personal interests, leaving the masses to grapple with the consequences.

”There is no other way to explain the fact that about 43 years ago, Nigeria had a vibrant Airline called the Nigeria Airways with a large fleet of Aircraft flying to several parts of the globe and owning large properties which spans almost half of Ikeja GRA and in London and capital cities of Europe. We had a national Shipping line that had in its fleet several Vessels which competed favourably with other shipping lines all over the world.

“Yet, as a nation, we have managed to deliberately become a nation with neither a national Airline nor a national shipping line. We became a nation that derives happiness in making a mockery of ourselves as was typified by the Nigeria Air debacle where we had to fake the ownership of an Airline by shamelessly borrowing and repainting an Aircraft from Ethiopian Airline.

“This period of independence must serve as a time when all of us have to seriously seek to question ourselves and thoroughly re-examine our actions as a people and as a nation.

We have to soberly reflect on why we have moved from a once prosperous nation to become a country that is the poverty capital of the world with over 133million multi-dimensionally poor people. This number has since increased after the hike in the price of petrol (PMS) by His Excellency Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“It is indeed an opportunity to find how we have moved to a nation that had a refinery that was operational in the 1960s which grew into another three refineries in the 1980s but which have been deliberately made obsolete by those we have entrusted the leadership of our nation.

”Nigerians must seek to find out why we have become a nation that must import a product which can easily be refined in our nation and why the conscious sabotage of our economy by those who occupy the helm of affairs in our country? We must make conscious effort at finding out what the phantom called fuel subsidy is, how much was it worth, who was receiving the monies claimed to have been spent and why the obvious lies when the Direct Sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreement was the framework for the import and distribution of products in Nigeria?

“Also of great importance is the willful bastardisation of the Naira and the attendant Dollarisation of the economy by the nation’s leaders. We need to find out whether truly a genuine foreign exchange market exists in its true sense in Nigeria. Why would the value of the nation’s currency continue a free fall when the value of accruals from crude is rising? What magic has made it difficult for the value of the Naira to remain stable against the Dollar especially when the Dollar is being pummeled all over the world?

”Workers all over Nigeria would want to find out why almost all the privatized entities were sold at a give away price to the so-called investors? Why is it that most of them have either been stripped and scrapped and no longer operational? Who are the real buyers of these entities? We will want to find out who bought the GENCOS and DISCOs, who bought the Ikot – Abasi Aluminium Smelter company.

Why it is no longer producing but has been shut down? Nigerians deserve to know and we must ask this question: what is going on here?

”This Independence Day celebration should allow us to ask those who are leading us why they have refused to fund public Universities appropriately and have instead decided to establish and own private universities? We may wish to know why they have turned Nigeria from a country where foreigners took pride in coming for education to a country where majority of the citizens go abroad to obtain quality tertiary education. We would want to know why the elites have managed to price education out of the reach of the poor.

”It is also an opportunity for Nigerian workers to ask our leaders why our hospitals have been turned into places to go and die instead of places to go and be healed? We would want to find out why our healthcare system that used to boast of the patronage of influential individuals and families from all over the world have suddenly become anathema both to foreigners and the Nigerian rich? We want to find out why the rich throng abroad to treat minor ailments instead of making use of our health facilities?

”We want to find out what happened to the Ships in the defunct Nigeria Shipping line and what happened to the Aircraft and properties of Nigeria Airways that scattered all over the world. Who acquired them and at how much and where is the money from their acquisition? It will also be interesting to find out who acquired the Steel companies and why none of them is producing steel today?

”Much more, Nigerian workers will want to find out why it has become difficult for an army that fought the Civil war and won, fought in Lebanon, Sierra Leone and in Liberia to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents? We want to find out whether it is a deliberate tool to keep Nigeria in perpetual crisis.

”One of the most painful aspects of Nigeria’s journey has been the economic struggles faced by the majority of our citizens. Despite being blessed with abundant natural resources, poverty and unemployment have become entrenched in our society. The promise of prosperity for all remains elusive, as a significant portion of our population continues to live in abject poverty.

“Moreover, social disparities have widened, with a yawning gap between the privileged few and the marginalized many. Access to quality healthcare, education, and basic

infrastructure remains a distant dream for millions of Nigerians. This inequality not only undermines our social fabric but also hampers our collective progress.

Labour meets FG

Meanwhile, the Federal Government and Labour leaders are expected to meet today in an effort to find a common ground and avert the planned nationwide industrial action from Wednesday.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the meeting will hold at the Aso Rock Villa.

Sources informed Sunday Vanguard that the meeting will commence at 12 noon.

Recall that leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterparts, on Friday, shunned a meeting called by the Federal Government in a desperate effort to avert the planned nationwide strike from October 3.

According to the two labour centres, government’s invitation came late as they had scheduled engagements outside Abuja.

Labour leaders had requested for a rescheduling of the meeting, which the government had done.

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