A former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday called on Nigerian workers to, as a matter of urgency, quickly wake up and rescue the country from “a few reckless elites in control of the governance process who are running the country aground”.
Jega, a Professor of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano, specifically said the forthcoming 2023 general elections may be the “make or break” epochal moment for Nigeria, depending on actions and inactions of workers.
The former INEC boss, who spoke in Abuja at the 2022 Workers’ Political Conference organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), argued that the sorry state of the socioeconomic conditions under which the Nigerian working people have devastated the Nigerian economy and heightened insecurity.
Jega, who chaired the conference spoke on the theme: “Commitment to National Emancipation and Development through Effective Political Engagement by Nigerian Workers.”
Apparently commenting on the current fuel scarcity, strike action embarked upon by members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), incessant borrowings, among other issues, Jega said Nigeria needs an urgent, serious and positive rescue with the active engagement and involvement of the Nigerian workers.
“Nigeria is, undoubtedly, at a point in its history when the issue of national emancipation for credible national development, beneficial to the Nigerian people, requires being raised high on the front banner of national discourses by patriotic Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, and especially by the Nigerian workers themselves.
“The sorry state of the socioeconomic conditions under which the Nigerian working people, indeed the overwhelming majority of all citizens live and work, the reckless misrule and mis-governance by a tiny, rabid and reckless band of elite, and the manner by which these myopic ‘elected’ so-called ‘leaders’ and their collaborators, have devastated the Nigerian economy, heightened insecurity, and virtually destroyed the basis for national cohesion and integration, Nigeria, as a potentially great nation, is crying for a rescue mission, before it is too late.
“Such a rescue mission cannot be serious, positive and successful, without the active engagement and involvement of the Nigerian workers through their genuine representatives in working class organizations and movements, in alliance with other progressive and patriotic Nigerians,” Jega said.
He added, “Most analysts agree that while Nigeria may not have totally collapsed, it is in the process of collapsing, as reckless elites in control of the governance process are blindly running the country aground. And the 2023 general elections may be the ‘make or break’ epochal moment.
“Given this, all hands of progressive forces need to, have to, to on deck to prevent our country from imminent collapse, and to turn it around on to a trajectory of good democratic governance for beneficial democratic, socioeconomic development, and human security for Nigerian citizens.
“A broad alliance of progressive forces for national rescue and emancipation is absolutely required to get Nigeria out of the current unwholesome predicament in which it finds itself.”
On his part, the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, lamented that the country had never been like this since democracy returned in 1999, saying the polity is already being overheated ahead of 2023 general elections.
He said, “To say that Nigeria is at political crossroads would not be a statement of alarm. It would be a factual construction of our reality. With 2023 in view, there is a lot of politicking, intrigues and subterfuge in the political space. Every indication shows that the polity is once again being overheated.
“Sadly, as it has become the norm with our cycle of broken politics, the polity is not being heated with questions and answers on how the current political mandate has been used by political office holders.
“The polity is not being overheated with concerns on how the current ruling elites have honoured the socio-economic rights of Nigerians in Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution.
“The polity is not being overheated with new ideas of how politicians can meet the expectations of Nigerians who want constant power to power their potentials, motorable roads, adequate security that will keep us from always looking over our shoulders and living wages that will offer workers a chance at decent living.
“Our country has not always been like this. During the quest for our national independence, the wheel of our collective liberation from the grips of the colonial masters did not turn until the muscles of Nigerian workers were applied.
“The June 1945 nationwide strike action created the big momentum that finally caught the attention of the British colonialists that Nigerians were ready to take their own destiny into their own hands. And what was the fulcrum of our agitation for independence? It was the demand for equality, decent work, and social justice.”
Culled from Daily Trust