Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Former Chairman of the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday in Abuja advised the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the working class to deepen participation in politics and governance.
Jega in a lecture titled: â€˜Labour, Politics and Governance in Nigeriaâ€™, at the NLC 40th anniversary, said that labour participation was imperative in order to advance the interest of the working people and the nation at large.
He denounced the minimal participation of the labour movement and the working people in politics in spite of their significant numbers in the working people parties.
According to Jega, â€œWorkers must be mobilised to engage in electoral process with a view to increasing and improving the integrity of the process and also to contest on the platform of the â€œworking peopleâ€™s parties.
â€œThis is in terms of advocacy and support for electoral reforms, to promoting and defending the autonomy and independence of the election management body, civil and voter education among others.
â€œWorkers must also be engaged in polices and legislative advocacy and putting pressure on elected executives and representative to be responsible and responsive to the needs and aspiration of the citizens.â€™â€™
He said labour movement needs to play a leading role by ensuring that it partnered with credible civil society organisations for impactful intervention that would influence policy and legislation making process.
According to him, the chances of victory are better with a political platform that has a broad population appeal.
He added: â€œSo, those who want equity must come with clean hands, workers need a political platform, labour leaders must create them with integrity. They must also operate them on democratic principles and core values of inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, selflessness and competent and credible leadership cadres.â€™â€™
He said Nigeria workers deserve better that what has been offered to them, as a political platform for engagement in electoral politics.
Also speaking at the event, former Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said the labour movement needs to perfect the act of persuasion for negotiation.
The former NLC president added those who are in power would never govern according to your role values.
According to him, â€œSo government and governance is value driven, is a basis act to decide who gets what and who pays for it. Placards can moderate and force them to go back and re-strategies. But placards and the most potent strike will not change their value system.â€™â€™
He explained that placards, persuasion and negotiation cannot make some certain changes that workers actually need, saying that there was need for NLC to acquire some political powers.