By Tonye Princewill
Nigerians have once again woken up to our very own equivalent of a Groundhog Day. Another fuel price hike. Let me say for the records, I am not against the removal of subsidy. Nigeria simply cannot afford it. What I am against is the approach to its removal. PDP neglected to deal with the corrupt people, now APC has come and neglected to deal with the people. Period.
It takes nothing from us if we engage. There lies my issue.
While the government has a good case, for one obvious reason, they have chosen not to make it. I will explain that reason shortly. Instead they have opted to proceed with arguably the single most masses-wide-impacting policy in spite of the pains to the poor who they aim to protect. I say aim not claim to protect because in a PDP / APC dominated political clime, the masses are still their target.
Now the Labour movement is preparing to proceed with the same outdated script. It is known even to primary school kids. Politics – Fuel Price goes up – Protest – Fuel Price goes Down – Politics. Labour is not involved at either end of the chain. They appear and disappear in the middle. Meanwhile Nigerians continue to suffer. So you can see why nobody takes the Labour movement seriously. Especially the Federal Govt. Otherwise they would have been part of the solution, not part of the protest.
In 2012, the Civil Society took to the streets later backed by the Labour movement who later abandoned them once a price drop was approved. Now the same script is being acted out again. Beyond the merits or demerits of the price hike, let me ask; Are Labour leaders fantastically foolish? Do they prefer to continue to be leaders of protest or leaders of progress? Is it not time to put up or shut up? Politics is too important to be left to politicians and those who refuse to participate are condemned to be ruled by those who do. Haba!!
The Labour movement needs to be strategic in it’s thinking.
It’s time to stop being reactive. It needs to think again. Doing the same thing over and over and over again doesn’t produce a different result. No! I make bold to say that this is the time to revive the Labour Party or design alternatives and participate in active party politics. You don’t have to win an election to influence the politics. If the workers use their voice and their leaders don’t sell them out, no party will protect them like their party. Until then, I repeat – expecting a different outcome would be nothing short of fantastically foolish.