@FavourAfolabi: So Who Elected The Nigerian Workers’ Unions?

@FavourAfolabi: So Who Elected The Nigerian Workers’ Unions?

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Former Omar Abdulwaheed, NLC President

Unions are a CREATION of the Nigerian polity; so the people that empowered them MUST endure the sufferings they place on the same people that empower them – sad but true.

In the time past, every time Unions chose to shut down the nation, our people always assumed “they were working in their interest and against the government” because “once you claim to be against government then you automatically become a Super Star” – this was unbelievable, for a nation with so many educated people – we went to school to be smart enough to QUESTION things, but over the last two decades, that has not been the case – “we only question governments, we don’t question those that claim to be against government” to know if they actually represent our interests that they claim to be protecting.

Third, who actually appointed (or elected) Unions/Leaders to represent us? Did anyone here pick them to speak for you? Why then has our people always queued up behind unions albeit cheaply? When the Unions were frustrating the Power Sector reforms, our educated Intellectuals, professionals, intelligentsia, Private sector pretended not to see what was going on; the same set group of Nigerians have largely refused to stand up to PENGASSAN, NUPENG, MOMAN, etc for years – why must the nation suffer because “some individuals in a particular industry want to protect their own interests?”

What this polity has refused to understand is – Unions are also “Political Parties to themselves” and seek to protect their own interests, even at the expense of the larger nation or the benefits of the Nigerian People – they quickly tell you “they are fighting for the Masses” but who bothers to ask them “when did the Masses elect you to fight for them and are these Masses member of your Unions that benefit from the enjoyments those in your industry participate in?”

For as long as the UNIONS draw “invincible support” from the rest of the polity as they are applauded for “standing up for the rights of the people” with no proof of that, even the governments with the best intentions would not be able to deliver certain promises to the larger citizenry, and the same citizens offering this blank support for the Unions would keep being the ones suffering from this the most – it would be the classic case of “The ground suffering when two elephants fight” – and that has been the case for a long time now.

Surely, a nation that can ‘defeat’ a 16-year old incumbent central party must be “brave” enough to shout down hegemonic self-perpetuating and selfish Unions that seek to destroy the nation while claiming to be “working in the interests of the people” – the governments of the day must go to the people to make a case for “how it was elected to run the Nation and not the Unions” – and it must draw it’s legitimacy to lead from the same people that voted it into Power away from having such powers be domiciled in the Unions.

Yet, I sense a dilemma for the government here – it “romanced” too much with the Unions in seeking Power; would it then be able to stand up to the Unions after all the “huge but unattainable promises” it made to the Unions? If the government can’t stand up to the Unions, who then would be able to do so?

Favour Afolabi is a political commentator who runs fbablogs.com in his spare time; and owns a real estate brokerage services company. He tweeted from @favourafolabi.

The opinions expressed in this mail are solely those of the author.

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