Following the intention of the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a nation wide industrial strike following the recent action of the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to effect the increase in electricity tariff and the price of petrol in the nation, the Governors of the thirty-six states of the federation under the platform of the Nigerian Governors Forum in Nigeria will on Thursday hold a virtual emergency meeting to discuss the looming strike by the Nigerian Labor Congress and the Traders Union Congress with a view to finding a lasting and more permanent solution to the proposed industrial strike.
This information was released in a terse press statement which was issued by the Head of Media and Public Affairs Abdulrazaque Bello- Barkindo in Abuja on Wednesday. The press release was titled,” NGF Emergency Virtual Teleconference”
The statement read,” Ahead of the threat by the Nigerian Labor Congress to resort to an industrial action to force the Federal Government to rescind its decision to hike oil and electricity prices in the country, the Nigeria Governors Forum is holding an emergency meeting of all Governors to seek ways of settling the rift and finding a mutually agreed soft landing and amicable grounds. All Governors are expected to attend the meeting as the matter is considered to be of urgent national importance which needs to be quickly resolved in order not to worsen the already bad situation of Nigerians as caused by the Covid-19.
The scheduled meeting will be the first Nigeria Governors Forum emergency virtual Teleconference is expected to commence tomorrow.
Examining the content of the meeting, both the proposed industrial action to be embarked by the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the Traders Union Congress (TUC) and the NGF meeting scheduled to take place tomorrow, upon an objective and critical analysis of the content of the press release put out by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) the content of the released press statement issued by its head of Media and publicity have to a extent set the wrong tune and message to the Labor leaders. The use of the word,” threat” in the opening paragraph of the press release might to a extent be I’ll interpreted by the Labor leaders who are presently aggrieved by the decision and action of the federal government to increase the fuel price and electricity tariff in Nigeria. The Nigeria Labor Congress and its brother body the Trade Union Congress is legally empowered to use strike as a last resort to getting their demands from the government.
According to the dictates of their roles as a pressure group, the usage of the word “threat” might be seen to portray them in a bad light as they are only doing their lawful duty.
The usage of the word, “threat” might be seen or interpreted as a body that’s about doing something illegal or illicit. The NGF are on a part to brokering a peaceful negotiation between the Labor leaders and the government to forestall a looming strike which is not in the best interest of the nation and its economic stability. And as a result of this, it must set the tone and pace of this negotiation well by using less provocative words or utterance which might jeopardize the success of the meeting.
The Nigeria Governors Forum must come to the understanding and acceptance of the fact a nation wide industrial strike action is not the best bet for the nation especially in a time like this. The nation has been plunged to a slippery slope of economy deterioration. This is majorly as a result of the outbreak of the novel virus Covid-19 which has crumbled many businesses and economy of different nations. As the nation is working frantically to help the nation from further dip in financial wits it must also have it in mind that an industrial strike is not right for the nation’s economic survival at the moment.
This implies that an industrial strike nation wide in the nation will do more harm than good to the nation. The NGF in it meeting must have it at the back of their mind that they must do all within its abilities to ensure that they have a peaceful negotiation session with the labor leaders and one very vital way this can be executed is by having a strong house first. It emergency meeting must be tailored to creating a stable and workable template to finding a solution to this menace.
At the moment the nation’s health sector has been greatly strained in recent weeks over the inability of the government to stick to their own end of the bargain by granting the request of the resident doctors in the nation which led them to an indefinite strike action.
Also the nation’s educational sector are currently on a six month old strike as they demand from the federal government that it honors the agreement it made with the body as the various Nigerian educational institutions across the nation is in dire need of intervention.
The federal government of Nigeria and the NGF must ensure that it does not allow issues to go out of hand before it start looking for means to control the situation.
The nation’s economy is already down the event of an industrial strike action will do the nation no good. The onus is on the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that it policies are tailored to meeting the needs of the masses in Nigeria.
The Nigerian populace feels that the federal government of Nigeria is not sensitive to their needs as their recent economic policies and reforms are for the elites and not the Masses. Increase in national commodities will definitely attack an outcry from the people who are here represented by the Nigerian Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress. It is the hope of many Nigerians that the NGF proffers a more suitable template which can be used in putting a lasting solution to this issue.
By Marcus Amudipe