The Coalition of Civil Society Against Corrupt Persons in Nigeria has berated the Comrade Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and its Civil Society Organisations allies over what it described as failed protests against the increase in the price of petrol, saying it shows they are out of tune with the thinking and yearnings of Nigerians.
A statement by the coalition’s National President, Linus Ejilogo, on Friday, said the days when labour leaders ride on popular demands to blackmail and extort the government for personal interests are over. The statement accused Labour and its CSO allies of working with elements of the past administration to make the incumbent government look bad by sabotaging its efforts at remedying the mess it inherited. It declared that “Labour’s inability to accept that Nigerians refuse to join the bandwagon by a cross section of self-serving labour and CSO leaders to further compound the current economic hardship is unfortunate. If they can open their eyes to recognize the truth they will realize that their failed protest have confirmed that no group of persons could drag us back to the Egypt where past administrations in this country have held us.” The coalition noted that the few instances and sectors where the strike and protests called by labour had effect were indicative of the incompetence of the staff there and their inability to deliver on what they draw salaries for. According to the group, “ASUU and SSANU that shut down universities for every flimsy excuse they can think of have proven their uncontested position as the enemies of the poor masses whose children have been made into perpetual residents of the nation’s higher institutions of learning and after a while awarded certificates that cannot neither sustain them in lives or make them employable. “It is therefore no surprise that the staff who should be helping them get education are only good at calling for strikes.” The statement advised labour to divert its energy into rebuilding its public perception among Nigerians who now see it as a divisive force especially with the factionalisation of its leadership. It noted that “There is no basis for citizens to trust a labour movement whose leadership is juicy to the point of causing the kind of rift currently rocking it and they can definitely not march behind such leaders in protests even if the issue being championed is reasonable. “In this case what labour is asking for is unreasonable and potentially injurious to the long term wellbeing of the people. In the past, when Nigerians had thought labour was championing their cause, union leaders had betrayed everyone as they used popular protests to negotiate deals for themselves only to abandon the so-called struggle until the next time they are broke.” The coalition, however, hailed Nigerians for being realistic with their acceptance of the government’s decision on the pricing of petrol as it urged them to continue resist attempts to manipulate them.