Channel Your Energy Towards Tackling Nigeria’s Challenges, NLC Replies Tinubu

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has slammed President Bola Tinubu over his comment on the union’s Tuesday’s protest which he described as “unacceptable”.

The NLC, however, told the President to channel his energy towards tackling the enormous challenges facing Nigerians, rather than engaging in rhetoric with the organised labour.

The NLC and other affiliated unions initiated a nationwide protest on Tuesday over the rising cost of living, inflation, insecurity, and general hardship prevailing in the nation.

Protesters wielded placards bearing slogans such as #End Poverty and Hunger, Support Local Industries#, Fix Local Refineries End Subsidy#, #End Naira Devaluation, Tax the Rich Subsidise the poor# to articulate their concerns about the prevailing economic challenges nationwide.

During the protest, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, delivered a letter outlining their demands to President Bola Tinubu via the leadership of the National Assembly.

However, the protest which was scheduled to last for two days was called off on the first day.

Meanwhile, Tinubu on Thursday, while unveiling phase one of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Red Line at the Ikeja Station, said the NLC was not “the only voice of Nigerians” and should contest in the 2027 general elections if it was interested in joining the electoral process.

Reacting to the President’s comment, the NLC, on Friday in a statement signed by Ajaero, asked Tinubu to show evidence of fulfilling any agreement reached with the organised labour within the nine months of his administration.

The union advised him to focus on fulfilling his promises to Nigerians, rather than threatening trade union organisations.

The statement reads in part: “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 daily basis.

“It is regrettable that the President seems oblivious of the profound hardships endured by millions of Nigerians. 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.

“The NLC wishes to emphasize that our primary objective is not to vie for political positions, including that of the President. Rather, our sole focus is on advocating for effective governance that prioritises the welfare and security of all Nigerians. We urge President Tinubu to redirect his efforts towards fulfilling this fundamental duty of public office, rather than engaging in political rhetoric.

“It is imperative that we refocus our collective energy on addressing the substantive issues that have been the subject of engagement between Labour and the government since June 2023. These include critical matters such as wage increases, social welfare programs, infrastructure development, and the revitalisation of key sectors such as education and healthcare.”