Nationwide Strike: Oshiomhole describes action as ‘misplaced priority’
A former Labour leader, Senator Adams Oshiomhole has described the ongoing strike action by Organised Labour as a misplaced priorty.
The former Edo State governor wondered why the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are not taken up issues on workers’ welfare but focusing on seemingly partisan matters.
Oshiomhole, who spoke at Aso Villa on Tuesday after a meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, pointed out that the labour ought to have taken on state governments that are not paying the N30,000 minimum wage instead of embarking on industrial action simply because its leader was assaulted.
ALLNEWS reports that the NLC and TUC called the strike on Tuesday to protest last week’s physical attack on NLC President Joe Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Recall that Ajaero flew into Owerri to protest the non-payment of outstanding salary arrears to workers in the state on 1st November 2023 but he was allegedly arrested and terribly beaten by suspected political thugs suspected to be working for the state Governor Hope Uzodinma.
In protest of the assault on Ajaero in Imo, TUC President Festus Osifo announced the industrial action on Monday, saying it will be indefinite.
But Oshiomhole said: “Unfortunately, this strike is not about those issues.
“And I think we have to be careful not to mix our political opinion with our responsibilities because the issues confronting workers are so many that they should become the priority.
“The Federal Government had granted N35,000 increase. And those discussions were supposed to be for and on behalf of not only the Federal Government but on behalf of all workers in Nigeria, including those employed by local governments and state governments.
“Additional revenue accruing from the withdrawal of subsidy should trickle down to the states and the local government areas.
“I would have wished that somebody in the NLC recognises that the hunger in the stomach of federal employees is not any worse than the hunger in the stomach of those state employees, nor local government employees.
“If these are the issues on the table, even as a senator, I will publicly support action against any government that thinks that we should lament away our hunger while the people do what they do.
“Labour cannot be apolitical because politics is about the people. And I have argued when I was in NLC that nobody has a right to be partisan much more than those who turn the will of our industrial progress.
“You have to be careful not to be seen to be doing the bidding of a particular candidate or a particular political party. As President of the NLC, I made no friends with any politicians.”
He reiterated his stance against brutality against any Nigerian while stressing that addressing the hierarchy of workers’ needs should be NLC’s focus.
“But, let me be clear. I do not support the brutalisation of any Nigerian. I emphasise, any Nigerian, including a journalist, including the unemployed. Of course, including a Labour leader,” he added.