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Ahead of next year’s Presidential elections, the Anambra State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has thrown its weight behind the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
As a result, the workers have constituted a political mobilisation committee headed by a former NLC Chairman in the state, Comrade Charles Onyeagba.
Other members of the committee include the immediate past NLC Chairman in the state, Jerry Nnubia (Deputy Chairman) Odiegwu Anthony (Secretary), Chukwuka Gaius (Assistant Secretary), Maduabum Patricia (Treasurer), Nweke Ifeanyi (Public Relations Officer/Organising Secretary).
Other members of the committee are Ubani ABC, Odili Chike, Cele-Okeafor Ngozi, Uyanwunne Eucharia, Ikeazor Charles, and Onyejiaka Emmanuel.
Inaugurating the committee, the NLC Chairman in the state, Chinwe Orizu, said the decision to constitute the NLC Political Committee was an instruction from the national leadership of the body.
Orizu said they were directed to set up such organs in all the states of the Federation to ensure the victory of the LP in next year’s presidential poll.
She said the time had gone when workers in the country would appear to be apolitical and allow mediocrity to thrive.
She said, “We are not talking of political parties now. This is a workers’ movement. We call it the workers’ movement because the workers want to take over the political power of this country.
‘We no longer want to sit on the fence. That is why the 2023 project is called the workers’ movement. Every worker in Nigeria should be involved. We need to educate our workers. NLC sees it as a duty that, in the LP, our dream will be fulfilled by you and me that are oppressed as workers in Nigeria.
‘Workers of this country have been so much oppressed. The money they give us as take-home does not take us home again. We are just suffering, and the suffering is not ending. Let us have it at the back of our mind that this is holy anger.
‘We should rise in holy anger to defend this moment that is called workers’ movement. We have a greater job because the movement is like in our home. Anambra is the seat of this movement.
‘We, the workers of Anambra State, will take upon ourselves to see that this labour movement is actualised; to see that the oppressed will have a say. It’s now or never.
‘You see people sharing dollars; the Academic Staff Union of Universities is on strike because the government has reneged on the agreement signed in 2009: and we are in 2022.
‘Next week, this country will be shut down in protest because our government is insensitive to the plight of the workers; to the plight of the downtrodden. It is the children of you and me that are sitting at home for the past six months of the ASUU strike.
‘If care is not taken so many of them will not go back to school whenever they are called back because they have been frustrated. In Nigeria, in a four-year course, if you come out from it in six or seven years, you thank your stars. What are we saying? Enough is enough for this injustice. The labour says injury to one is an injury to all.
‘These people have injured us enough that we should take the bull by the horns. It’s no longer business as usual. The workers have come out. It is not a geographical thing because if you go to the North, the poverty is greater. Everybody is crying. Everywhere you go now, what you hear is ‘Obidient.’ That’s the mandate because when the righteous man is on the throne, the people rejoice. It’s not about the party now, we are talking about who will salvage this country.
‘So, let’s know now that it is our duty to protect our own. It’s our duty to ensure that Anambra, being the seat of this movement, should make a difference. In that vein, I’m looking at these political committee members as those that must deliver.’
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the committee, Charles Onyeagba, admonished the workforce to be wary of political jobbers who would want to destabilise the movement.
He said, ‘We clearly understand what has been said and what is before us. A catalogue of the problems of Nigeria and what is happening nationwide is not new to any of us. This movement by the NLC is overdue.
‘The NLC political wing was formed about 2001/2002, but nothing came out of it because of a lot of factors that affected it all over the place. In 2002, the NLC mobilised to such an extent that the then Federal Government felt threatened that they were going to be toppled by a kind of civilian coup d’etat. That was when they formed this thing they call governors’ forum.
‘The governors came together that year in an attempt to make sure they cut the rising power of labour. The governors, who didn’t agree that we would have a common minimum wage, decided to come together and fight us.’