By Damilola Oyedele
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has waded into the furore caused by the alleged flogging of an official of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) by the Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, calling on the governor to render a public apology to Nigerian workers.
Failure to render the apology as soon as possible, the NLC said, would result in a series of action to protect the integrity of Nigerian workers as entrenched in its slogan: “An Injury to One Is an Injury to All.”
The governor had allegedly flogged the Business Manager of PHCN in the Gwuiwa district, Mr. Moses Osigwe, after power went out in his (the governor’s) village when a ceremony was about to hold. The state chapter of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) embarked on strike and left the state without power for at least a week.
The President of the NLC, Abdulwahed Omar, in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday said the congress had already directed all unions in the state to commence mobilisation towards a solidarity action by the entire workers of the state, both in the public and private sectors.
“The action of the governor is a violation of the fundamental human rights of the PHCN worker and also exposes the limit of the governor’s exposure to democratic ideals,” he said in the statement.
Omar described the governor’s actions as ‘unacceptable, uncivilised and undemocratic’ especially from someone elected to serve the interest of the state.
“By any standards, what the governor did was not just barbaric, irresponsible but coming from a man of his political standing, it also sends a disturbing signal to ordinary citizens who may decide to follow the governor’s example by opting for jungle justice rather than follow legal and constitutional procedures. A governor should behave differently from a tout. A street fighter is not fit enough for any public office in any decent country,” Omar added.
The labour leader called on the state House of Assembly to call the governor to order as he seems to be taking advantage of the immunity clause which shields him from prosecution. He emphasised that the state was being subject to ridicule.
“The last time we had a case of abuse of office similar to this was when a journalist was brutalised by a serving Military Administrator in old Rivers State. This embarrassed an unelected military government so much that the military administrator had to be removed from office almost instantly. This is why the Sokoto State House of Assembly must take steps to save the citizens from suffering the consequences of the governor’s hollow understanding of the responsibilities of the Office of the Governor,” the statement read.