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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.

 

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?

 

Bastardisation of
Naira

“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.

 

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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