Tag Archives: nlc

Occupy Nigeria 2 – A weak compromise?

The protests have all but stopped in Lagos. And reports of  protests dying down in the rest of the country have divided the public. Some are happy to return to normality, but many in the country are bitterly unhappy with the compromise the  labour unions have made with the government.

The removal of the oil subsidy, on January 1, made oil prices more than double at the petrol stations from 0.40$ to 0.90$ per litre. A side-effect of this was a hike in the cost of food and public transport.  On Monday, Jonathan partially reversed the removal, cutting the prices from 0.90$ to o.60$ per litre. And in return, the key labour unions  -the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – called for an end to the strike.

Unfortunately, the inflated prices of food and transport have not fallen in line with the petrol concession. The consequence for most of the country, already living on the breadline, will be a deeper fall into poverty.

For many who sought a return to the original pre-2012 price of 0.40$ per litre, the cut is not deep enough. NLC President Abdulwahed Omar, and  TUC President Peter Esele, have been accused of receiving bribes from the government, although there has been no evidence to back up these claims.

Earlier in the week, reports from protesters seemed to paint a picture of a growing campaign – both in strength and numbers. Tosin Agbetusin, 33, an account manager, was protesting at one of the main sites in Lagos. Describing the turnout he said: “as the days went by, the numbers of protesters increased. By Friday we had thousands out on the streets. People from all walks of life were out here.”

The government is yet to provide clear, detailed and public plans for how they intend to use the saved subsidy revenue to improve desperately lacking infrastructure in the country. Tosin would rather  have the subsidy: “we don’t want any promises about what they will use the money for. Nobody believes it anyway. Just give us our subsidy back.”

The government has argued that some of Nigeria’s neighbours, like Cameroon, have previously benefited from the low-cost petrol by smuggling the oil across the borders and selling it on for profit. Debo Ogunwo, 28, a petroleum geophysicist, says that this is a security issue. “Why must the public suffer because of that? The government are failing to protect life and property, even across the border. Why can’t they make the borders more secure?”

As the country tries to get back on its feet after a week-long standstill, people are still asking questions like these. People are asking why the government spends so much on government officials’ salaries and expenses. Many are wondering why the refineries are not being brought up to standard;  and some would like to ask why the subsidy removal was not implemented gradually, over a defined period of time. Why the rush?

One thing’s for sure – the protest made some impact. It may have not been the victory that some were hoping for, but it did send a clear message to the rulers and the elite.  With the dubbed ‘year of the protester’ just behind us, a growing population savvy with social media, and possessing an increasing political consciousness, the message seems to be that there are certain lines not to be crossed.


Fury over appointment of ‘corrupt’ electoral commissioner

An uproar has broken out over the re-assignment of  the former Electoral Commissioner (ELC) of Ekiti state, Ayoka Adebayo, and demands for her resignation have promptly followed.

Leading the protest for Adebayo’s removal is the state chairman of NLC, Momodu Braimoh. In the letter forwarded to the presidency by Brainoh and his secretary it reads:

“We received the unexpected information concerning Ayoka Adebayo, former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, recently posted to Ondo State. Ondo and Ekiti are sister states, and we know much about the electoral fraud perpetrated in Ekiti State, though denied, especially during the re-run gubernatorial and senatorial elections presided over by Mrs. Adebayo.”

Adebayo proves that a dodgy past is no barrier in Nigerian politics

The letter refers to the electoral controversy in 2009, when she falsely elected Mr Segun Oni as the winner of Ekiti state’s re-run election. Adebayo has now been appointed as the ELC of neighbouring Ondo state despite accusations of fraud during her former post, which resulted in the widower going into hiding and being declared as ‘wanted’ by then Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro.

The trouble began when Adebayo refused to declare the winner of the 2009 election, later claiming that she did not want to announce a false winner which would have been against her Christian morals. The ruling party of the last 11 years, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was said to have mounted pressure on the commissioner to announce a false result. The party also bizarrely rejected a request for her own resignation with the  Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili, claiming that the letter was ‘suspect’ – whatever that means.

So do we vilify Adebayo, who has taken up the role of ELC in a state neighbouring the one she failed so miserably with the last time round? Or do we place the blame on the ruling party, the PDP, that some suspect coerced and threatened Adebayo?

Thoughts are welcomed in the comment box