The President of the United Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, on Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari should begin a nationwide healing process instead of a re-election campaign.
Mr Ajaero spoke at a May Day rally held at Onikan Stadium in Lagos.
“We consider it insulting and disdainful to Nigerians for politicians to have been in indecent haste to start their campaigns when they have clearly failed to deliver benefits to us especially in this time when the nation is in turmoil. You mindlessly ask us for vote while you steal from us,” said Mr Ajaero, the leader of the break-away faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
“You are campaigning for 2019 while Nigerian masses are massacred daily. You negotiate political power seated on the heap of the corpses of Nigerians while the wheels of your limousines ride on the blood drenched streets of our dear nation! You ask the dead to vote for you. Will the dead vote for you?”
“The President must take the lead in kick starting a national healing instead of kick starting his re-election campaign and this must be in keeping with his statement in London that he is not interested in re-election but in security and the economy of the nation.”
Mr Ajaero said ahead of the 2019 general election, the nation’s politicians had jettisoned all manners of decorum and thrown to the dogs the patriotic sense of duty to the citizens and country.
“Our nation is now in auto pilot and nobody seem to be in charge as politicians struggle for positions, negotiating it on sufferings and rampant poverty of the Nigerian people that they are supposed to lead,” he continued.
“In other climes, after election comes governance but in Nigeria, after elections comes another election.
“We urge the nation’s politicians to remember that their quest is to lead the people. The preservation of the people should therefore be central in their actions and engagements in the polity. The contestation for power should be within the ambits of the law and survival of the Nigerian nation.”
Mr Ajaero said it would be a mistake for workers to rely on politicians to lead the way because the nation has been unable to grow an altruistic political leadership that is inherently patriotic and absolutely committed to the general good.
“As workers, we are better strategically positioned to salvage our nation, we can all join our hands together to craft programs and take actions that would set our fatherland free from the manacles of underdevelopment that has constantly placed a downward logic on lives,” he said.
“Increasing onslaught against the Nigerian worker either as individuals or as collectives have become the new agenda of governments at all levels of the Nigerian society. Our jobs are becoming increasingly precarious and unstable.
“There is a strong desire amongst those in government to scuttle the growth of the trade union movements and this has become the philosophy behind the drive for drastically reducing the participation of the movement in the affairs of the nation’s governance processes.”
The labour leader maintained that N96,000 remains their stand on a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, adding it would be mere politics if the government signs it just before the election. He said they would only accept the sincerity of the government if they have collected the new wage for, at least, six months to a year before the election.
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