Labour unions: No negotiating Nigeria’s unity

Organised Labour Movement in the country has urged Nigerians to stand up with one voice and fight those promoting division on the basis of primordial affinity in the country.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) gave the advise at a news conference jointly addressed by the Trade Union Congress, (TUC) and Civil Society Allies on the state of the nation in Abuja.

Wabba said it was to make their positions clear in unequivocal terms on the unity and sovereignty of Nigeria on the drum beats of war in the country.

“You have been witnesses to the degeneration of the national conversation into threats and counter-threats; pulling down the federation by some desperate forces and which are being conveyed in vile and base language.

“These persistent hot exchange and attacks tend to threaten the foundation and integrity of our sovereignty and unity.

“These do not represent the true feelings of patriotic Nigerians for one another.

“Rather, they symbolise the intensity of greed, implacable arrogance, and desperation of the elites, some of whom have been sponsoring the hate campaigns that can only lead to the disintegration of our dear nation.

“Thus, those fanning the embers of disunity needs to be discouraged and schooled on the realities of war, we appeal to all Nigerians,” he said.

He, therefore, called on Nigerian workers, pensioners and peasants not to allow themselves to be used as cannon folders for the selfish interest.

Wabba said that over the decades, labour had stood for “one Nigeria” and still committed to the values of the founding fathers.

He said that the labour movement was determined to stop those throwing the nation to another avoidable civil war.

He further decried the escalating social and economic injustice, poor living conditions of people, inability of several states government to pay living wage or even ensure the payment of salaries as and when due.

The labour leader listed others as massive unemployment, lack of productivity as a result of de-industrialisation, galloping inflation, devaluation of the currency among others.

“We should therefore look at positive options, peaceful, rigorous and altruistic of reforming the system.

“We will continue to underscore the need for good governance in our country as a basis for any realistic development and eventual emancipation of our people.

“As the issues in contention can be resolved through good governance, sustainable and transparent fight against corruption and addressing inequities and injustice in the system,” he said.

Also, the TUC president, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, while speaking on true federalism, called for the accountability of the electorate in the country.

Kaigama called on government to set up a strong think-tank to look at the 2014 National Conference report as it was vital for development and stability of the country.

He noted that the current government only had 30 per cent participation in the National Conference and that the report should not be abandoned.

Speaking, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) called on Nigerians to look at the things that bind them together and not things that will separate them.

Falana said that there was no nation without challenges and problems, but the ability of the country to overcome the challenges remain the main issue.

On the issue of restructuring, `We cannot be having political restructuring without economy restructuring.

“If you are talking about restructuring, you cannot be selling the assets of the country to individuals.

“Those who are talking about restructuring are not interested in the Chapter 2, of the Constitution, which is the fundamental objective that states shall be made justifiable towards the right to education.

“The right to health, the right to unemployment benefits and the right to a living wage and we must remind them to address these social services of our people,” he added.

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