Ajaero prescribes inward revival for Labour movement
Fractional Leader of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Joe Ajaero has said the Union can only join the anti corruption war of the present administration if it is able to put its house in order.
Specifically, Ajaero who was reacting to the recent statement credited to Wabba lead fraction on the union’s readiness to join a protest march with the National Assembly in support of President Buhari’s anticorruption war said the union can only do that if it can put the crisis behind the Kriston- lally housing scheme and other issues to rest.
According to him, the most pressing issue for workers are the unpaid salaries and allowances as well as pensions by state governments and some federal agencies.
Reacting to report credited to the statement Ajaero, argued that it would amount to hypocrisy to work with the legislators who had refused to reduce their outrageous pay and allowances in line with the mood of the nation, which labour was planning to protest against.
Besides, he contended that in the spirit of reconciliatory process anchored by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and NLC veterans led Alhaji Hassan Sumonu, both parties ought have met to iron out certain fundamental issues and do some in-house cleansing before taking such action.
To collaborate with the National Assembly to protest against corruption when they have not allowed their salaries to fall in line with the minimum wage, is wrong.
If we do that, that is hypocrisy at its highest level. I am saying this without mincing words, the two factions can still meet and agree on a date to protest in support of anti corruption moves of President Buhari but not to be hypocritical about it.
Before we do that, we must cleanse our house, we must make sure that the allegations over the Kriston-Lally Housing issue, over the labour city transport issue, and NLC election rigging and all others that have been destroying labour are cleared.
Part of the issues that Governor Oshiomhole and others looked into and which we all agreed to, was that we must go through the ethics of the movement, the rule of law and procedures in handling issues.
If we have not gone into all these ones and we want to play to the gallery that we are protesting in support of the anti-graft, we think the public will mock us and that is not the kind of NLC some of us want to see.
The issue is that the other party (Wabba faction) did not consult with us. They were supposed to consult before we even take certain decisions in the spirit of reconciliation. No party was supposed to fix a date to take an action without the two factions rubbing minds.
But if one party goes out and takes a decision, it may be a good decision, but that may not be in line with the ideals of the other faction.
We just read it in the papers and definitely we have to respond to it that we are not a party to a rally with the National Assembly. I have never seen where this collaboration worked before unless, we do not want to be sincere with ourselves, especially when we are even planning to picket the National Assembly on the jumbo pay.
At what point did we drop that idea of picketing the Assembly Assembly the furniture and wardrobe allowances and when workers salaries have not been paid.
The two cannot work. If you understand the labour movement very well, that collaboration cannot stand. It is a collaboration based on deceit and not based on the ideals of labour.
The nature of the reconciliation and the committee that was set up is not such that removes the powers from the factions. Factions are still independent until the committee decides on the framework to operate with.
That is why they are free to make those comments and we are free to make the comments we are making. But ordinarily, if we are to go with the spirit of the reconciliation, we should have rubbed minds and by now all these fears would have been factored in.
It does not really matter who is saying it, at least the two parties should be working together and agree to a common thing. There was a time Wabba was reported to have said that the two factions would work together to fight the governors owing salaries.
That is the collaboration we need. we should address issues that affect work that is the areas we have extended our hands of fellowship, which we have done.
We should have sat down and worked on a date and how to make sure this is effective, but we have not done that. Jumping into protest with the National Assembly is not what we need now.
We need to fight against issues that affect the workers and if you have observed, there were pocket of actions in some states and strikes which did not achieve desired result.
It was because we didn’t work together, if we had worked together and some states proved stubborn and the electricity supply was cut off, no fuel and no bank operations, and not just walking around the streets, there would have been better result. Now to say we are fighting corruption when your house is stinking is not our priority.
On way forward, he said “One thing we have all accepted is the need for a united and strong NLC. That one is clear. In the choice of leaders of NLC, apart from the strength of the union, the brain of the individuals comes in.
A man may be leading a union with less than 20 members, but he is one of the best brains, you can’t do without him. The man may not be too intelligent, but he leads a union that when they cough, the country catches cold, you look for him.
Before we look at other things like balancing from the South or North, private or public sector union, and others are factored in the choice of leadership of NLC. It possible for us to come back and we are all committed to this reconciliation.
The term among others, is that people we must accept where we started getting it wrong. When late Yar’ Adua came into power, he said the election that brought him in was grossly faulty, but that didn’t stop him from performing as president.
But you rigged the election and you say you want to rule with impunity, then good luck. In terms of agreeing on issues, but the implementation and how to go about it, we equally believe that it will be easy if others have the mind that I have. I can only talk for myself. But I know that when we are together we will be stronger.