Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
The Presidency has described those condemning Organised Labour for reasoning with the government by suspending a planned nationwide strike last week as enemies of the country.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) after a couple of rounds negotiations with the Federal Government, decided to suspend the industrial strike scheduled to commence on September 28.
The decision of the Organised Labour had since been criticised by varying private and public interests with some suggesting it amounted to betrayal.
However, reacting to the debates and feelings around the decision of Labour, the Presidency, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, noted the attack on the Labour unions was borne out of pain for those it described as traducers of the administration, having failed to achieve an alleged plan on use the strike to score political and electoral gains.
Commending the Labour for the first time publicly since it decided to suspend the planned strike, the Presidency noted an individual action would have served the political interest of those who had been urging for a fight by the Labour.
It, however, called for the cooperation of all patriotic Nigerians with the government, noting that the social, political and economic crises bugging the country could only be dealt with when there are no distractions.
“Since Organized Labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.
“They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against Organized Labour.
“For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.
“For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.
“The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections.
“For them, it was all about hanker for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about love of country. They have since then been calling Organized Labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.
“The times in which we live-with severe security, economic and social challenges-call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend Organized Labour for putting the country first.
“Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends, or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country. Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more,” the statement said.
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