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19 years of democracy not rewarding enough for workers, says NLC

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For the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the 18 years of democracy has not been rewarding enough for the Nigerian workers. 

The President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba, who stated this in Abuja in his Democracy day message, argued that 19 years is long enough for the current democratic experience to impact positively in the lives of Nigerians.  

His words: “There is no doubt that the mention of ‘people’ thrice in the definition of democracy is not a coincidence. It is only a statement of fact that the people are the fulcrum of democracy.

So, for us in Nigeria, it is perfectly fitting to ask ourselves “how has democracy served the people of Nigeria?”

In our view, 19 years is long enough a time to ask ourselves “how much progress have we made as a people in our democratic journey?” The truth is that 18 years of democracy has come with very sparse rewards for the Nigerian people.”

While Nigerians celebrate democracy’s irreplaceable gift of freedom, liberty and popular representation, he posited that the truth remains that this democracy has served the political class and not the average Nigerian.

He lamented that those Nigerians elected to serve as democratic leaders have not only turned around to serve themselves but continue to exploit every given opportunity to turn the people into paupers in their own land. 

He submitted that aside the frequent unlawful dipping of fingers into the public till, everything including salaries, pensions, perquisites, ways and means are skewed in their favour to the exclusion of workers.

Wabba held that for the labour movement, a democracy that does not allocate resources in such a manner that ensures equity, justice and sustained national development or cohesion is beggarly.

He further said that the NLC reasons that the Nigerian political elite frequently turns Nigerian workers into canon fodder in their high stakes political games and mindless scramble for the commonwealth.

He maintained that despite escalating costs of living, devaluation of the Naira and general hardship in the land, the Nigerian worker is still forced to survive on N18, 000 as minimum wage with not a few states owing backlog of salaries and pensions.

This applies to pensioners majority whom are wallowing in misery and unimaginable suffering in most states of the federation, while the members of the political elite led by state governors as a matter of ‘law’ and policy, take in advance whopping severance packages to which they are not entitled in the first place.

“How well has this democracy uplifted the spaces where we live and work? Without prejudice to the effort of this government, our infrastructure is still in tatters. Our roads are impassable and public electricity supply remains epileptic.

“Our schools and health facilities have become sorry relics of what they used to be in the first decade post-independence.

The spate of killings, general wave of violence and insecurity across the country further traumatise the hapless citizenry,” he stated.

He noted that in spite of the great effort by the Buhari administration to fight corruption, corruption keeps fighting back more viciously.


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