A founding member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, VON, Mr. Osita Okechukwu has enjoined the leadership of labour unions to shelve all plans for industrial action.
He urged the labour leaders to instead support President Bola Tinubu “to bail-us-out from the economic stranglehold of one per cent class of deep pockets.”
Okechukwu, who was reacting to President Tinubu’s national broadcast, agreed with the President that the nation was in dire need of bailing the citizens out from the stranglehold of the one per cent class that had been feeding fat on petroleum subsidy and multi-forex market.
Going down memory lane, Okechukwu stated: “There is a national consensus after we lost the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) battle of 1986, by all and sundry and all the presidential candidates on the imperative to remove fuel subsidy and reinforce uniform foreign exchange rate.
“To me the strike may not achieve the desired result of addressing gross inequality in the land, since there is no better alternative to the short-term palliatives on the table, urgently fixing the country’s four refineries, as well as implementation of Buhari regime’s Green Imperative Project, aimed at mechanisation of agriculture nationwide.
“Therefore, since we have regrettably succumbed to the nebulous SAP economic policy, the only viable option left is to collectively and pragmatically join Mr President to recover lost grounds and for him to commit class suicide.”
He said he was thrilled listening to Mr President’s national broadcast, especially his disclosure that, “The subsidy cost us trillions of Naira yearly. Such a vast sum of money would have been better spent on public transportation, healthcare, schools, housing and even national security.
“Instead, it was being funnelled into the deep pockets and lavish bank accounts of a select group of individuals.
“This group had amassed so much wealth and power that they became a serious threat to the fairness of our economy and the integrity of our democratic governance.
“To be blunt, Nigeria could never become the society it was intended to be as long as such small, powerful yet unelected groups hold enormous influence over our political economy and the institutions that govern it.”
Okechukwu said it was at this point that he came to the inevitable conclusion that Labour needs to calm down “so as not to set our fragile democracy ablaze.”
He stressed that “President Tinubu stands in a good stead to bail us out of the stranglehold of these unelected individuals wielding enormous influence and posing serious threat to the integrity of our democracy.
“Methinks all Tinubu needs to unbundle our economy from the hands of rent-takers, which our Constitution frowns at, is one, our support and second, genuine advice and thirdly, to mark him bumper to bumper with constructive criticisms on how best to preside over our commonwealth.”
On the observation that there were some missing gaps in Tinubu’s address, Okechukwu remarked, “To me it is an excellent address in plain and clear language devoid of economic jargons.
“However, the missing gaps are: one, there’s no mention of how to urgently fix our four refineries, as one does not trust that Dangote Refinery is enough.
“Two, no mention was made of the Green Imperative Project (GIP) aimed at the Agricultural Mechanisation Program of former President Buhari’s administration.”
According to Okechukwu, history has over the years recorded nations where change emanated from unexpected quarters, “therefore we should give Mr President the much needed support to implement Section 16(2)(c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” which he said cautioned that, ‘the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of group.’
Okechukwu submitted, “without being immodest, with my experience in mass action, the danger of Labour strike is that it may not achieve the desired objective and God forbid, may unfortunately drive us from fire to total economic frying pan.”