Stop Intimidating NLC Leadership – CUPP Tells Tinubu 


Mobolaji Michael 

THE Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has expressed concern about the statement made by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu at the commissioning of the Red Line Railway project in Lagos on the 29th day of February 2024 calling on the former Lagos State governor to desist from intimidating the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). 

Eighteen-Eleven Media reports that the President had lashed out at the NLC and its leadership for daring to call out Nigerian workers out on a nationwide protest on Monday 27 February.  

However, CUPP, in a statement by its National Secretary, High Chief Ameh Peter, said it is preposterous that Mr President could utter those words he was quoted to have said. According to CUPP, Nigeria workers have been passing through the valley of the shadow of death, have been reduced to mere walking and hopeless skeletons as a result of hunger and other various forms of hardships occasioned by the adverse policies of the government such as the removal of whatever that was left of the fuel subsidy as at 29 May 2023, floating of the Naira which has reduced the value of the national currency close to that of Zimbabwean dollar. 

Ever increasing prices of foodstuffs that have rendered the minimum wage of an average worker almost useless, that its purchasing power can only buy less than half a bag of locally produced rice, high cost of transportation, insecurity arising from both unemployment and frustration, etc. Protesting against the inhuman condition they have found themselves in as a result of the action and inaction of the present government shouldn’t therefore have elicited this kind of statement from the President.  

“Nigerians have never had it so bad, and the circumstances that led to the Arab Spring were not this bad.

“Feeding, which is almost given, has suddenly become an abstract concept to many Nigerian homes, and President Tinubu expects the labour movement, which represents the majority of the downtrodden and underprivileged in our country, to keep quiet and look the other way while those at the helm of affairs are living larger than life as if all was well.

“We in CUPP now firmly believe in the adage that says, ‘He who kills by the sword will never allow a man with a sword to ever come close to him, even by a country mile’. 

“We remember how unrelenting President Tinubu as both ACN and APC leader was pillorying the then PDP-led government with his unceasing criticisms of their policies, which were more humane and in nowhere asphyxiating as the immediate past and present APC administrations. Nigerians are beginning to reminisce about what was shouted from rooftops and condemned by the then former Governor Tinubu and APC as clueless to be the golden years of Nigerian democracy and economy.”

CUPP says opposition parties and Nigeria Labour Congress were allowed to flourish without let or hindrance at the time. The economy, it says, was booming, and Nigeria was then rated as the biggest and fastest-growing economy in Africa. 

Foodstuffs were readily available and affordable to average and struggling Nigerian households. Naira was under Two Hundred Naira to a Dollar at both the official and unofficial markets, and to cap it all, rights to form assembly and protest were unfettered and guaranteed.

“When in 2012, the then President Jonathan attempted to do away with fuel subsidy, which the APC under President Buhari’s government was rechristened under-recovery, was it not President Tinubu and the other then-opposition stalwarts that shut down Nigeria, rebuking then President Jonathan for wanting to commit what then former Governor Tinubu called a “breach of social contract with Nigerians”.

“CUPP finds it disturbing that an opposition leader who was allowed unfettered access to all the rights that accrue to all Nigerians under the Nigerian Constitution, and by reason of being humans, including the right to form and hold lawful assembly by the government in power before 2015 is now being curtailed with the Nigerian Labour Congress being harassed and intimidated for calling out the government to see through the agreements it entered into with the labour movement on behalf of innocent and hardworking Nigerians who are at the receiving ends of its policies that were not well thought out before their commencement and execution.

“The Coalition of United Political Parties hereby calls upon the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to tread softly, commence the immediate fulfilment of the agreements it entered into with the Labour Union to alleviate the suffering Nigerian workers are passing through, rather than the use of intimidatory tactics to silence the Union and by extension Nigerians from demanding for good governance which is rightfully theirs. 

“President Tinubu should also bear in mind that no democracy flourishes and becomes entrenched with all the rights as contained in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and Universal Declaration on Human Rights, including the right to free speech, assembly and the right to peaceful protests. 

“The democratic space must never be constricted, which was essentially what the utterances of Mr President portrayed. Rather, it should be expanded to accommodate all different and differing opinions, including the right to dissent.”


Eighteen-Eleven Media

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