The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) can’t get anything done!
See the minimum wage matter and how the NLC is going yoyo with the government.
The labour union needs to take necessary lessons from the Okada riders on the high art of solidarity in struggle.
The NLC acted as though clowning when it declared a warning strike, then threatened a proper strike only to immediately call it off in a matter of moments. Who can take such a body serious?
When the Okada blokes decide to strike it is almost always total. Just hit an Okada man with your posh car and you will in very fast seconds understand what I mean! Unlike the NLC, the Okada guys will strike instantly in tumultuous solidarity.
The clowning of the NLC did not start today. Back in the days of the military dictatorship of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, there used to be a labour leader known to some of us as Paschal the Rascal.
The Paschal fellow who claimed to be the leader of the NLC then was actually a glorified “otimkpu”, that is, praise-singer of the military regime of Babangida. He was at best a masquerade.
Every labour day, Paschal the Rascal would march ahead of the procession of the workers in the company of his buddy Babangida. Paschal the Rascal would then turn to Babangida and say: “Dear General, I would pretend to say some angry words to you so that the workers would think we are making real trouble with you. I don’t mean any word I say against you. It is just meant to mislead the workers. After the hot words against you, I remain your ever loyal boy, Paschal!”
And of course Paschal the Rascal would mount the podium, shouting: “General Babangida, your regime is a fraud! Your SAP is Western imperialistic decimation of African irredentism and pragmatism! We must sweep you away with the revolution of the proletariat and the masses and the peasants!”
“Fire on!” the hailing workers would holler in reply, urging on their leader, Paschal the Rascal, to give hell to Babangida. “Give it to that evil apostle of SAP. Yab him well-well!”
“We shall march on Aso Rock and chase the capitalists out of town!” Paschal the Rascal as ever mouthed his outrage, pumping the air for good effect. “Babangida, I am coming for your neck with my workers!”
After the speech, Paschal the Rascal would ride in the same car with the selfsame Babangida for a scheduled dinner in the kitchen of Maryam, the then First Lady!
Knowing that he really had nothing to worry about concerning the fulminations of compromised labour leaders such as Paschal the Rascal, Babangida turned Nigeria into a hell-hole where second-hand life became the rule rather than the exception.
It was unheard-of that Nigerians were second-hand okada riders until the advent of the evil genius named Babangida.
What I am getting at is that now that the government has turned the majority of Nigerians into hungry-and-angry Okada riders, things may never be the same again.
The Okada people have taken their own destiny into their own very hands. They no longer depend on “how-for-do” labour leaders.
Okada solidarity is all the rage these days. Just manage a scratch on a motorcycle with your car and see all okada riders descend on you with venom. That is the solidarity I am talking of.
I have lived long enough in Lagos to learn this fundamental lesson in the Okada solidarity of struggle.
The fear of Okada riders is the beginning and end of wisdom. In their unbreakable solidarity, no Okada rider is ever wrong. Once one of them gets into an argument with any other fellow, say, a car driver, a pedestrian, or whomsoever, all the Okada riders on God’s earth will all gather together to give the intruder a collective thorough beating!
If only the NLC can learn to gather all the workers together like Okada unionists to give the few government potentates a thorough beating!
Just the other day, the police carried out a raid on Okada riders encroaching on the expressway along the Abule-Egba axis of Lagos. The Okada activists immediately downed tools! People had to trek to as far as Sango-Otta in Ogun State. The Okada movers and shakers had to be begged to come back to work!
If the NLC wants to win the minimum wage war, there is the clear and present need to apply Okada solidarity.