BY SEGUN OLULADE ELENIYAN
The recent call by Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), for workers to embark on a strike action, despite a restraining order by the National Industrial Court, highlights a power-drunk attitude that prioritizes personal vendettas over the collective interests of the nation.
Ajaero, a card-carrying member of the Labour Party, is mixing politics with workers’ agitation.
His attempt to use the NLC as a platform to settle political scores is highly condemnable. By fighting a battle that Peter Obi lost during the presidential election, Ajaero is turning the NLC into his personal vendetta vehicle rather than an organization focused on protecting workers’ rights. This misuse of power undermines the credibility and integrity of the NLC.
His actions reveal his partisan nature as he hides under the umbrella of unionism. It is evident that he is using his position as the NLC President to advance the interests of his political party. This partisan approach contradicts the principles of neutrality and fairness that should guide labor leaders.
Under the guise of fighting for workers’ rights, Ajaero attempted to swing votes for his party during the Imo State gubernatorial election held on Saturday. At the end of the day he got a bloody nose and unfortunately for him, the police and the state government denied any involvement in the incident. While not condoning the cruel treatment inflicted upon him by his tormentors, it is worrying that he attempted to exploit his powers solely for his own selfish gain.
No fair-minded person would condone Ajaero’s behavior as it undermines the democratic process and compromises the independence of labor unions. His actions demonstrate an ego trip that is both unwarranted and detrimental to the progress of the nation.
Calling for a national strike to blackmail the government is a clear abuse of power by the NLC leadership. Ajaero’s decision to incite workers into a needless strike is an attempt to force the government’s hand and achieve personal objectives. Such actions only serve to disrupt the country’s economy and social activities, causing undue hardship to the citizens.
The NLC’s decision to embark on a strike despite a court order against any industrial action is a blatant display of disdain for the rule of law. Labor unions have always been champions of the rule of law and respect for the judiciary, making it all the more disappointing that the current leadership has chosen to disregard court orders. This flagrant disobedience sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the credibility of labor unions in Nigeria.
It is imperative that labor leaders, like Joe Ajaero, prioritize collective progress and national interest above personal vendettas and political agendas. The NLC should not be used as a platform for settling scores or advancing partisan interests.
It is high time for Ajaero and his goons to reflect on their actions and ensure that the NLC remains a credible and responsible advocate for workers’ rights.
Hon. Segun Olulade Eleniyan,
Former member, Lagos State House of Assembly.