Reports monitored from radio talk stations provided Nigerians the platform to speak out on what some called a nightmare. Some spoke emotionally, others angrily and some with guarded understanding. One Chidi Obidike painted a picture in the 90 seconds he had on air:
“Corrupt governance has driven Nigerians to the edge of the precipice. Buhari has run into a brick wall, so have all of us – except the looters many of whom are still in power.
“With nowhere to turn to now, the die is cast and we all have to bear the brunt because the evil day has been postponed for too long. It is our yoke and we must bear it as a nation.
A stakeholder who was guest at a radio station said now Government is ready to talk with all aggrieved parties, the way forward is to continue to engage govt on continuous basis.
“What Nigerians want is solution, not palliatives so NLC should demand for long lasting solutions,” an analyst said on air. “NLC should reinvent itself to become more relevant on day to day basis.”
Labour is static, redundant
A situations analyst and student of history, Mr. Damian Bob-Manuel took Nigerian workers on a brief while speaking on Thursday (yesterday).
“Strike started in Egypt, Africa around 1152BC or so and if you trace it from that time to now, absolutely nothing has changed about labour movement across the world. Even in Nigeria as we speak, in governance and structure, nothing has changed, so you do not expect to see a changed labour from an unchanged society. What we have from government now is experience and what experience will always produce is past results.
“What we need is innovation in both government and labour. The problem is we do have people who can think but they cannot follow through what they think. The problem with Nigeria is not lack of knowledge: it is inability to do what we know, the political and humane will to do what is right is lacking, unfortunately.”
Government committed a blunder
Consultant and activist, Prime Abidoye pointed out that a divided or (dis)organised labour has become a prime casualty of the fuel pump price increment. In sympathy with the Nigerian worker, Abidoye said we should not demonise those who went on strike and should not make a saint on those who did not go on strike. Hear him:
“The composition of the society does not make room for everyone; that is why in leadership, we are made to know why two negatives cannot power a bulb, that’s why a positive must pair with a negative to produce light. God forbid that we build a society that government will do anything they like and there would be nobody to question it.
“Whether the strike is right or not, but government committed a blunder in the area of information management. Nobody is arguing the fact that we should remove subsidy or not; even the worst enemy of this government agrees that at one point or the other, we would stop postponing the evil day and remove the subsidy, but how did government communicate it to the people?
The Vice President, Osinbanjo did not play his role even as a clergy man. The human relation was poorly managed. If you really love a man, the show of that love is to love him when he commits a blunder, so let us appreciate those who love Mr. President for committing a blunder in the information management.
“The hallmark of courage is for you to be able to criticise the man you love when he commits a blunder because both love and courage are needed for national growth so those who went on strike were right; for those who didn’t go, they are right also, so don’t demonise anybody.
“We love and support Buhari’s efforts but on strategic communication, there is a failure but don’t let us take our country to the cleaners for that because the failure is what has led to all this chaos. So if labour says we are going on strike because we were not properly briefed, it should be something quite reasonable; moreso that nothing has changed in labour union.
“Exactly this day (Thursday) in 1945, people gathered in this same Lagos and they went on strike because of this same issue of welfare. Between 1941 and 1945 many things happened that affect the living standard of the people.
“Don’t tell Nigerians government cannot pay minimum wage. Problem is we spend too much on those in power and that does not stop them looting the nation’s wealth as we all can see.
If Goodluck Jonathan were to have continued as president, people will still be stealing as they were doing, so stop telling us government is broke. Even as we speak people are still stealing in government. Prof Pat Utomi said at a conference recently that with all Buhari is doing, nothing has changed in the culture of corruption in the government. And that is painting the true picture because everywhere you turn to there is corruption.”