By Mary Odoma
I have a concern with the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress. There is something fishy about the union. Recently, the disposition of the NLC has been suspect because most of its statements indicate a body acting the script of some vested interest.
The NLC has lost it completely. It is now a shadow of itself. Businessmen have taken over the group’s leadership, which is business as usual. Aside from the deceit, my concern is the security implication of the activities of the NLC.
The posture adopted by the NLC defeats common sense in that as proof of its effectiveness, it is duty-bound to go against government policies, no matter how credible.
The position of the NLC in the aftermath of the removal of fuel subsidy is grossly unprofessional. As a first, Comrade Joe Ajaero is an erratic fellow who speaks from both sides of the mouth. How he was elected president of the NLC is a topic for another day.
I haven’t seen a labour leader as bland in his thoughts and actions as Comrade Joe Ajaero. He reminds me of student union leaders in the university who are famous for confronting university authorities not for its merit, but to propagate the Aluta slogan without focus most times.
I won’t be shocked if Comrade Joe Ajaero is acting in cohort with some disgruntled politicians in the country, who have obviously hijacked the NLC and are now a tool for destabilization and propaganda.
The NLC would scream at the slightest. It would cry murder, whereas its pocket is receiving some wads. I empathize with the members of the NLC because Comrade Joe Ajaero is smiling to the bank while giving others false hope of actions in their best interest.
I call what the NLC leadership is doing the macabre dance, depicting that the government is out to impoverish the workers in the country. Comrade Joe Ajaero seems to be the drummer boy, rendering divisive melodies that are sweet for the souls of the workers in the country.
Behind the seeming efforts at drumming, Comrade Joe Ajaero wears a grin, which ordinarily should depict sincerity of heart. But it is the other way around. He is busy counting his blessings and smiling to the bank. If this is not the case, how could one possibly explain fierce resistance to some government policies, regardless of the positives such policies would have on the socioeconomic fabric of the country?
It’s hard to explain why the NLC leadership is now playing to the gallery. They cry wolf where none exist. They beat the drums of war to increase their negotiating power. After all, the more to share, the merrier. And if they don’t bark, how would the money to share come in?
He is quite a smart guy. But what could be worse than deceit? I can only imagine the game Comrade Joe Ajaero and his co-travelers have been playing. It is evident that during government labor talks, he is very eager to address the press, stating why the meetings ended in deadlock.
The next you would hear is that the government needs to be more sincere in its dealings. We didn’t reach any conclusion and the like. I wonder what runs through his mind when he stands on the podium to address Nigerian workers. I say this because Comrade Joe Ajaero is a character that needs careful observation.
This is where the security agencies have to come in by beaming their searchlight on the leadership of the NLC. The revelations would be mind-boggling, so much so that Nigerians would puke. There is a dangerous trend that most Nigerians have yet to realize.
Nigerians might not realize that Comrade Joe Ajaero might be playing an ethnic and political card in his attempt to discredit the government. This is the case and the reason for his recent bumpy stance on government policies.
If the ultimate aim is to instigate the people against the government, he needs to rethink. Even though he has made good profits since he became NLC president, there is still room to turn a new leaf.
I am saddened that Comrade Joe Ajaero-led NLC could declare an indefinite strike over subsidy removal. They are blind to the efforts to address the country’s challenges. I beg to ask Comrade Joe Ajaero and his lieutenants what other option we have as a country in the face of the government’s dwindling revenue.
What has the NLC done to address the issue of crude oil theft? Was there a rally to protest? We must call a spade, and I think the NLC under Comrade Joe Ajaero is a rudderless ship heading for the rocks.
The earlier Nigerian workers see through his scam, the better for them. What we call the NLC today is a sham and a veritable destruction tool for disgruntled politicians. But for how long this would continue is left to be imagined. My advice for Comrade Joe Ajaero is to tow the path of honor by retracing his steps. He should put an end to the regime of deceit.
Odoma is a public affairs analyst writing from Abuja .