Tuesday, November 14, 2023 6:31 am
Certainly when Lord Acton made the now famous, witty wisecrack that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he was talking about men like Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and his goons, who today see themselves as the be-all, end-all, Alfa and Omega with the rest of us completely beneath them!
How else do you explain a situation where the crop of the labour leaders we have today are playing the role of the dog in the manger and saboteurs to the detriment of the rest of us.
There are many questions begging for answers here.
Whose interest is the organised labour really fighting for?
What’s the nexus between the Labour Party and the labour movement such that both have not just been hobnobbing but acting in a manner suggestive of an unholy alliance of evil, destruction?
What does Ajaero really want?
Why is Ajaero mixing politics with worker’s agitation?
Shouldn’t the overriding interest of the masses supercede base, selfish interest?
There are more questions than answers.
Clearly, anyone could be left to wonder why this umbrage against the organised labour?
Well, a penny for your thoughts. You need not wonder any longer because every discerning Nigerian knows that the labour leaders are not doing whatever they’re doing now out of personal conviction or in pursuit of the ideas and ideals of good governance. No. Clearly, they’re trying to feather their own nest by pursuing a self-seeking agenda totally at variance with what labour ethos and values truly represent.
Ajaero the other day went to Imo State with the intent to incite the Imo State workers to embark on a strike when election was just a few days away?
Alas 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 it. While not supporting the beastiality meted to him by his tormentors, one is only concerned that he tried to misuse his powers clearly for his own selfish aggrandizement.
Talking about whose interest the organised labour is pursuing. Is it the negligible number of the federal civil servants and their state counterparts, who are largely unruly, get to the office late, can’t pass common promotional exams talkless of pursuing the ideas and ideals of good governance with the potentials to make the country great again?
Is it the same civil service where the privileged few collect the entitlements of ghost workers thereby shooting up the wage bill year-on-year?
Tell me, is it the same crop of civil servants whose stock-in-trade is to pad the budget, corruptly enrich themselves and are largely self-serving?
Is it the same civil service where snakes and rats swallow money at will or where anybody with access can easily dip his hands in the public till and steal the country blind like the Abdulrasheed Maina, Ahmed Idris of this world?
The last time the organised labour embarked on warning strike they succeeded in further ridiculing themselves because it showed clearly where they stand in the scheme of things.
Mark my words, the same way the warning strike failed is exactly how the planned nationwide strike is going to fail because it has no populist backing whatsoever.
My advice to Ajaero and his goons is this: let them define what role they truly want to play in the scheme of things. If their passion lies in politics like Ajaero has surreptitiously shown, let him not hide his talent under the bushel anymore. He should formally join the Labour Party and wait for the next election cycle to contest for any elective position of his choice.
Of course, this won’t be strange at all because he has his seniors like Comrade Senator Adams Oshiomhole, Philip Shuaib as his models.
It also bears stating here that the last effective labour leader Nigeria had was Oshiomhole.
After Oshiomhole, the others have just been carpetbaggers, puppets used as mere play things!
Again, Ajaero can seek out Oshiomhole to take a masterclass in labour agitation if he truly wants to succeed as a labour leader that would command the respect of Nigerians irrespective of their political affiliations.
A word is enough for the wise.
*Funke Cole is a doctoral student, Dept of History, University of Lagos