IN an effort to pacify the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, to end its ongoing strike over hike in the price of fuel, Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, appealed to Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the NLC to suspend the ongoing strike in the interest of the nation.
Speaking in with the union at the headquarters of the NLC in Abuja, Tinubu pleaded with the union to call off the strike and resume negotiation with government on the contending issues. “I am here to appeal to you to understand that whatever you are doing now and whatever this government, led by Buhari is doing, is for the development of all Nigerians.
“I have come to appeal to you to suspend the action you have embarked upon and return to the negotiating table. I came to appeal to you to go back to history that we worked very hard to bring Nigeria to progressive path,” he said.
Tinubu, who attributed misunderstanding between government and the people to dearth of teaching of history in schools tasked senators to urgently initiate bill on compulsory teaching of the subject. He insisted that the National Assembly must initiate the bill on history because according to him, the problem now is that political history is no longer being taught.
Pleading for the Buhari administration, he said, “I can guarantee that this government is the government of honesty and integrity. Whatever is the anger? We must apply anger management. Whatever is the difference, I appeal to you, let’s go back to the negotiating table, let’s call off this strike, it is done on the street.
“Yes, it’s good to fight out your differences, we are in a democracy, we have the freedom but we will end up negotiating and agreeing with one another. I want to appeal to you. I have come to beg not as a pride. I come on behalf of my party. I come on behalf of our government. It’s our collective government, APC is for progress. APC is for change. That is my submission.
In his response, Wabba said he was open to resuming negotiation with the government, vowed that the strike would continue. He said he had heard the Tinubu-led delegation’s message, assuring that he would convey it appropriately to the union’s various organs. But he flayed the government over what he described as engagement in negotiations with both factions of the union, with a view to having divide and rule.
Even as he said his union was open to resume negotiation with the government, Wabba vowed to press ahead with the strike. “Your Excellency let me first thank you immensely for finding time and thinking it apt to visit the secretariat of the working class, the secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
“This alone, I think has demonstrated the fact that you are concerned about the issues of development in our country and I think we must put on record. Our appreciation for that, despite the fact that you know the situation we are in and despite the fact that you know the action we are in, which also may have captured very well that this action is not about personal issues, it’s about engaging policies.
“Overtime, NLC has actually led the vanguard and I think we have collaborated with a lot of civil society organisations even in the fight to bring about democracy. And I think these are some of the traditions that we cherish so much to actually continue to fight for policy engagement and also to ensure that there is development to address the issue of poverty and bring about social justice. And therefore, I think there is no much difference as regards what we are saying. I think the difference is only the approach,” he said.
— May 30, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT