Not the first rally and most likely not the last but the actors and the wish list haven’t changed; wages, fuel and electoral reform are on the menu list.
The Nigeria Labour Congress President, Abdulwaheed Omar, led several protesters chaperoned by armoured vehicles through the streets of Lagos.
At the Lagos state’s Governor’s office, the Labour leader had his chance to gauge the mood of the public; there were vociferous shouts condemning the government’s planned deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. All around the commercial hub of Nigeria, snake lined cues continue to spiral. Fuel shortages spiked by an unending spat between fuel marketers and the Government has ensured transport fares have nearly doubled in one month. The NLC chairman was uncharitable in his condemnation of the central government’s approach in resolving the problem.
‘We are not in support of deregulation and do not believe it is the only solution to this crisis. This will only bring untold hardship to the people’ the labour leader said. A large throng of activists, workers and students cheered in agreement
The workers had a bone to crush with former president Olusegun Obasanjo they have a bigger bone with the current president. 52 700 naira is the clarion call demanding an increase in minimum wage; more than 4 times the current wage level. Two months ago, lawmakers had nearly come to fisticuffs over the issue. The presidency has argued that the economic clime isn’t favourable to a wage jamboree. However the labour leaders still accuse the Government of unilaterally firing 33,000 workers a couple of years back, and insist that there is more than enough in the national coffers to go round
As he stood side by side with the labour leader, the Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fasola was better aware of political shenanigans. Brewing like a tropical storm is the electoral reform report. The president a day before the rally said he was compos mentis when he accepted 73 0f 83 recommendations dumping 10. The governor preferred to be a pacifist asking that the public share in the common blame and solution game searing the country’s politics. However Labour and civil societies want the INEC chairman appointed by the Judiciary as recommended by the Uwais report rather than the political parties which the President has stuck to.
When the protesters train storm Kano, Delta, Nassarawa and Abuja in the next five days, it is expected the Lagos show will be improved upon. For in end the NLC could just be testing the waters as it prepares for an eventual onslaught with the Government as the pump price of fuel does a snake jiggle toward a hundred naira a litre