Ajaero unilaterally declares hunger protest, count us out – TUC

Ajaero unilaterally declares hunger protest, count us out – TUC

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has pulled out of the two-day planned protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) slated for February 27 and 28, saying it was ill-timed.

The congress accused NLC President, Joe Ajaero of running a one-man show by unilaterally declaring for protest without carrying the TUC and others along.

TUC’s Deputy President, Dr Tommy Etim, said the hunger in the land might lead the protest to degenerate into what was not planned for.

According to him, Ajaero always claimed a mistake whenever they did not carry the TUC along in their planned rally or protest, but said “When one claims that a mistake is done and it is one that a mistake can be accepted as a mistake, but, when it is up to four times, it is now a deliberate action.”

Etim said the first thing was that when one issued an ultimatum to the government, the NEC was supposed to meet to review it, explaining that when they do, they would then make a decision.

He said in this case, the ultimatum given to the Federal Government was still on and the NLC president decided to announce that they would be going on protest as though he had not been in industrial relations practice or law.

“It baffles us. We cannot take that. What is the essence of unionism if you don’t come together for a particular cause? So, adopting a situation where two centres have been on the ground and one feels it has superior knowledge is not a good one at all,” Etim stated.

The TUC deputy president said he felt that he should be sensitive to know that the struggle is not a one-party affair and the country must be saved.

“We have to be a united force. And we have also said that a people united cannot be defeated. The President must leave up to his responsibility,” he added.

Etim, in an interview with The Punch, stated that “If we carry out a protest in this time of hunger and we may meet anarchy. A hungry man is an angry man, and any protest at this time can snowball into a revolution, which we cannot contain.

“Take what happened in Imo State where Ajaero himself went there after several warnings. If not for the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, the NLC leader would have been killed.

“When there is tension in the land, we must be very sceptical and strategic in our agitation. We are not babies; we have been long in this struggle. I, for one, have been in this struggle for 35 years. Sentiments and pride don’t pay.”

Etim added that TUC could moblise as protest is their right, but said such moblisation should be strategic to know that everyone must be carried along rather than thinking one could do it alone, saying that a fight of this nature is not a one-man fight.

“We at the TUC don’t issue threats and back down. The NLC is synonymous with issuing protest threats and backing out, and we don’t want to be a part of that. Any day we issue a notice of action, we carry it to the letter. If you follow our trajectory, you’d know that we always walk our talks,” Etim stated.

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