Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in this interview, says that workers have recovered the Labour Party and have activated their political commission in all the 36 states of the country in preparation for the 2023 general elections. He says that some bad elements in the party will be voted out.
On the role Nigerian workers will play to ensure that they participate in electing the next President
First is that workers are now being conscientised to actively participate in this democratic dispensation by voting credible persons and leaders in all offices because the problem of Nigeria had been actually the challenge of leadership. And we thought that having gone through this route, we have yet an opportunity to also elect leaders and labour is playing a very critical role by sensitizing our members at all levels. You remember we started with the NLC political summit where we brought about 3,000 workers from all our affiliates and we’re able to discuss issues. We came up with the Workers Charter of Demand which is to actually formulate our engagement policy with politicians. But importantly also, we have been able to recover the Labour Party, and the Labour Party is actually working assiduously to sensitize workers. We’ve activated our political commission in all the states and we’re working now towards the local government and ward levels.Ultimately, we want every worker to participate actively. You are also aware of the fact that we’ve directed our workers to get their PVCs for those that don’t have them and you can see the surge that is happening now with people trooping out to register for the PVC. We are also aligning with the youths because whether you like it or not the youths have been at the receiving end. Today, university students have not been in school for the past four months. Not only that, youths unemployment is extremely high and basically they’ve been at the receiving end. So, we’re trying to bring new impetus into the discussion about how to fix Nigeria and we cannot do that in isolation without people participating. They say democracy is government of the people by the people, and for the people, that’s what Abraham Lincoln propounded. In the definition of democracy, ‘people’ appeared three times. That’s why we’re promoting a party that also recognizes the centrality of people.
It is only Labour Party that has as its logo, the family, father, mother, and child. Others are having objects, and different things.
Some members of NLC are contesting under the platform of other parties, why not LP?
Simple, I’ve told you clearly, the parties are mere platforms. In all the parties you have the good, the bad, and ugly. I give an example of an ugly person who after losing primaries of four parties got a ticket of Labour Party through the backdoor. So, what we are looking at is the face of the person, not the party. Don’t be deceived. Workers will not be deceived by only looking at the platform of a party. Even in Labour party, if we have a bad candidate, we will say, this is a bad product, we’re not going to vote for him
Are you not bothered that they will go to other parties?They can go to other parties. What is the problem with that? If you’re denied a platform here to be able to exercise your political right, you should be able to use any other platform and we’ll support you. We’ll support you on the basis of your credibility, pedigree, what you have been able to achieve, and your manifesto.
If the Labour Party is meant for the workers, why can’t the NLC scrutinize those coming to contest on the party’s platform to make sure that such persons don’t bring bad names to the party?
There are two issues, the structure of the Labour Party is different from the structure of the NLC, don’t mix the two. The Labour Party is a party registered by the NLC promoted by the NLC and the working people, but we don’t micromanage the party. So, if there are mistakes that the party made without knowing the background details of somebody, and a ticket was given to somebody wrongly like in the case of Adamawa, we should be able to say so clearly but NLC will not go and micromanage the party.
There are rules to manage a political party. The party has a chairman, secretary, executive, etc. Some union leaders are part of the executive but we cannot go and micromanage. There is no way we will know everything the party is doing at a particular time.
Statutorily, NLC and TUC are members of the Central Working Committee and the National Executive Council of the party. Statutorily by law and therefore we have members that are there including also our representatives. But they cannot micromanage and know the identity of everybody because it’s too large, 774 local governments, 36 states, it’s not possible for us to know everybody but where we identify such we’ll be able to correct it at every point in time.