Be ready to participate actively in 2023 general elections,NLC President tells workers

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By Correspondent in Abuja.

The President of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has called on Nigerian workers to be ready to actively participate in 2023 general electiond in order to correct all the anomalies on the system.

Wabba, in his Easter message to the Nigerian workers, said the union had developed a Workers Charter of Demands as their irreducible minimum standard, adding that Nigerian workers were ready to only vote candidates and parties that subscribe to our Charter of Demands.

He said the bottom-line was that, Nigerian workers were completely tired of cycles of broken promises that threaten to turn their hopes into nightmares.

He said: “At the March 2022 Nigerian Workers Political Conference, we all agreed that politics is at the root of the unfair and unjust industrial practices being meted against workers, especially with regards to wage structure, pension administration, living standards, prices of goods and services.

“Consequent on this solemn reality, Nigerian workers have resolved to participate actively in politics.

“In contrast to the shameful reduction of the political discourse to mundane altercation on zoning formular, amidst the burning national questions of insecurity, inflation and insolvency of the economy, Nigerian workers would engage the 2023 general elections on issues premise.

” We have developed a Workers Charter of Demands as our irreducible minimum standard. We will only vote candidates and parties that subscribe to our Charter of Demands.

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The bottom-line is that Nigerian workers are completely tired of cycles of broken promises that threaten to turn our hopes into nightmares.

“We remain committed to the hope of a great Nigeria. As Christ arose from the dead, Nigeria will arise from the current ashes of despondency and chaos and take her rightful position in the comity of great nations. This hope of a great country enabled by her working people shall never die.”

On the insecurity, Wabba said the events of the past few weeks in Nigeria had severely tested the faith and hope of the Nigerians.

He noted with dismay,the recent mass killings in Plateau State, the terrorist assault on Kaduna Airport and the Abuja-Kaduna train bomb attack that killed innocent passengers, including the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress, Barr. Musa Lawal Ozigi and Chairman, Trade Union Congress, Kwara State, Comrade Akinsola Akinwunmi.

The NLC also reflected on the kidnapping of tens of passengers, adding that such devastating development had come not only
as a shocker to most Nigerians but also as an awakening call to the reality of the expansion of the wings of evil on the country’s shores.

“We demand that government must ensure the swift and safe return of all abductees. We also demand compensation for all those killed and injured in the attack,” he said.

On the on-going Academy Union strike, Wabba said millions of Nigerian university students, especially those attending public citadels of higher learning, celebrated Easter outside the precincts of their campuses, not by reason of choice but because “our country cut short their hopes.”

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He said the inability of the government to deliver on commitments it reached with the university workers, both academic and non-academic, had ensured that “the streak of instability battering and buffeting our tertiary education system remain unresolved.”

“It is even most tragic that majority of the affected students are children from poor homes whose parents cannot afford to pay the outrageous fees charged by private universities. Tragically, while students from poor homes are held back by frustrating cycles of strike actions, the children of the rich and powerful are in private campuses learning.

“There is no sadder premiere of the Social Apartheid in our society than the intermittent and protracted strike actions in our public universities,” Wabba said.

Wabba added that a very great concern to the union had been the deteriorating energy crisis in the country. He recalled that in the past few weeks, Nigeria had been plunged in a terrible ordeal of scarcity of refined petroleum products, pointing out that the cost of diesel, aviation fuel and Premium Motor Spirit had generally soared to unprecedented heights.

“At a point, the airlines threatened to shut down operations, even as the price of air tickets has been increased by more than 100 per cent. Owing to diesel scarcity and high cost, the few surviving industries in our country are being forced to either completely shut down or to significantly scale down their operations with grave implications for job security. This compounds the unemployment crisis in Nigeria.

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“Most banks have been forced to reduce their working hours with dire consequences for national productivity and economic growth.

“Today, Nigerians pay far more for diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel and yet these products are hardly available. While the promoters of deregulation have suddenly lost their tongues, the burden of this grand failure has been transferred to Nigerian workers and the public.

“The same challenge in the downstream petroleum sub-sector manifests in our electricity subsector.

“Since the privatization of the power generation and distribution assets in Nigeria, the promise of constant supply of electricity remains a mirage. In the past one month, Nigeria
has experienced about four episodes of national electricity grid collapse.

“Before this time, public electricity supply had deteriorated to some of its lowest in our history. This is despite humongous tax payers’ money that government invested as support funds for private investors that bought our public electricity assets.

“Yet, in the midst of these privatization anomalies, Nigerian electricity consumers are still denied pre-paid meters and forced to pay highly inflated estimated billings,”Wana stressed.

Edited by Dada Ahmed.

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