Rights activist urges labour unions to participate in politics
A human rights activist and presidential aspirant under the platform of National Conscience Party (NCP) in the 2019 general elections, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, has called on labour unions in the country to build a united front, if they hope to achieve any success in their agitations.
Speaking during a political roundtable discussion in Abuja, Tanko said: “It is the desire of every Nigerian to see a better Nigeria devoid of bad leadership.”
He advised organised labour to stop in-fighting, internal disputes and fragmentations, while urging them to build synergy and concerted efforts to engage the state and political class.
He said no matter the nomenclature, the Trade Union Congress (TUC); Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU); National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Worker (NUPENG) and others, were all agitating for decent wages, improved conditions of service and social justice.
He said: “We should call for accountability in governance. Government institutions are too weak and often manipulated for selfish ends. We must remember our efforts are critical in checking excesses of bad leaders and unjust policies.”
Tanko reminded the workers, unions that 2023 general elections potentially hold great promises, which according to him, would “offer us a chance to correct the mistakes we have made as a nation, and liberate our population from the shackles of bad administration.
“As the organised labour gets involved in political engagements, this would create an opportunity to elect good and popular leaders and in turn, produce good democratic governance. There is a dire need for us to fix this nation before it becomes late. As Nigeria prepares for 2023 general elections, all stakeholders, in the spirit of patriotism, have an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment towards rebuilding our country for sustainable growth and collective prosperity.
“Labour must act as an agent for mass mobilisation. Rather than being at the receiving of bad governance, let us rise up and change the narrative. For us to create enduring legacies, we must remember that posterity would judge us harshly, should we stand aloof while governance decays. The time to act is now. I leave you to your conscience,” he said.
“While strikes, negotiations, protests and mass appeals may have been a useful methodology for pressing demands for policy changes and welfare packages, the current times demand a more holistic approach that must be delivered urgently and systematically…”
“We must agree that any sector of our national life that lacks development and progress can be closely associated with bad leadership. This situation cuts all tiers of government – from federal to local council.
“ Workshops and roundtable discussions with Independent National electoral Commission (INEC), leadership of parties, security institutions as well as critical stakeholders are crucial steps to overhauling what we currently have democracy. These avenues are needed for harnessing thoughts for building the roadmap to solving Nigeria’s existential crises and governance problems,” he said.