Hardship Protests: NLC, TUC Tackle Tinubu Over Comment, Ask Him To Address Hunger, Eschew Politics


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (M), Joe Ajaero, NLC president (L) and Festus Osifo TUC president (R).

President President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should focus on addressing the issues of hunger and unemployment facing Nigerians, and stop playing politics, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, and Festus Osifo, his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart have charged.

Ajaero gave the charge in reaction to Tinubu’s remark that it is unacceptable for Labour Unions to call for a strike within the first nine months of an administration.

Speaking at the Lagos Red Line launching, Tinubu emphasised that the organised labour did not represent the sole opinions of Nigerians.

He said if Labour Unions wanted to participate in the election, they should wait till 2027.

But reacting, Ajaero assured Tinubu that Labour unions were not hunting for his job.

Said Ajaero in a statement titled ‘Mr President: We are not after your job’: “The recent statements attributed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during the commissioning of the Red-Line Railway Project have sparked deep concern within the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“We find these remarks, particularly those concerning the role of Labour in governance, to be profoundly at variance with the struggles faced by ordinary Nigerians under existing policies.

“President Tinubu’s insinuation that Labour lacks the moral ground to challenge his administration, merely nine months into office, is deeply troubling. Moreover, his focus on partisan issues and the distant 2027 election cycle, rather than the urgent needs of the populace, further underscores a disconnect from the realities faced by Nigerians on a daily basis.

“The pervasive hunger, unemployment, housing insecurity, and escalating costs of basic necessities such as food and healthcare demand immediate attention and decisive action. Yet, instead of addressing these pressing concerns, President Tinubu appears preoccupied with political calculations and future electoral prospects”.

In another related development, Festus Osifo, president of the Trade Union of Congress (TUC), maintained that it was the right of the union to embark on protest and strike to drive home its demands.

Osifo was responding in an interview on Channels Television on Friday, to the recent comment made by President Tinubu about the protest embarked upon by the labour unions.

The NLC had declared a two-day nationwide mass protest for February 27 and 28, over the economic hardship being faced by Nigerians.

On Tuesday, the protest took place in many parts of the country, including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

However, the leadership of the NLC announced on Tuesday evening the suspension of the second day of the protest, noting that the objectives were achieved on the first day of the rally.

Reacting to Tinubu’s comment, Osifo said members of the TUC were not politicians, noting that they were only interested in their welfare.

The TUC president asked the President Tinubu to address the fundamental issues that led to the union’s protest and strike.

Said Osifo: “I listened to that comment yesterday where he said that we should wait for 2027 if we want to contest for elections.

“I could speak for the Trade Union Congress; we are not politicians, we are unionists, and it is our right to protest. It is a fundamental right of every single Nigerian.

“So we don’t have issues with protests when need be; people must exercise their rights, and people must protest.

“In terms of waiting till 2027 to enter politics, I don’t think that is something we could dabble into because, as an individual, I am not a card-carrying member of any political party.

“What I am interested in is the welfare of my members and indeed the entire Nigerian masses. So, the president’s view is alien to us because the right to protest and strike is that of the workers.

“There are condition precedents, for the fact that you are going on a protest or strike, there are some things that led to it, those fundamental issues must be addressed”.

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