There is absolutely nothing ‘happy’ about Workers’ Day; at least from where I stand; maybe in various parts of the world but not here.

All the topics of discussion to mark this year’s Labour/May/Workers’ Day spoke the same thing-all sounding like broken records. I am about to join that community of broken records.
The state of the public sector was lamented; the state of the worker; minimum wage was on the front burner; suggestions, solutions, ideas, were offered but we will repeat this circle next year and nothing would have changed. The people with the bright ideas are on the outside looking in; at least for now.
The Nigerian (public sector) worker is the most pitiable. The private sector affords more opportunities, better pay, competitive environment but less job security. In Nigeria where the main game is the hustle, literally everyone is selling kunu on the sidelines.

As it is in most states of the country, workers have not been paid. However, they are expected to abide by the oath of office they took and bear allegiance to the government as they work, toil and slave as government pickin.! While it is in doubt that there is actual toil and slaving going on( as can be gathered by the out put) that again is failure of the government. If you hire people; equip them, empower them, put them to work and pay them!!

The workers have been mentally and psychologically beaten that we don’t see their general behavior as disturbing but rather normal but do we blame them entirely?
And so today the workers were not even worth the time for either the President nor the Minister of Labour to address; an acting Permanent Secretary was good enough but the crowd thought otherwise. This is the battery I am talking about; the representative workers were facing the wrong person. There has been no such vicious attack of the very people that are improvising them- government! For the last two years workers have been broken. Hikes all over the place, even the meager salary hasn’t been paid, no roadmap, no goals; just drudgery.
Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) is not even a toothless bull dog anymore but more like a 4 month old pup. What cause has NLC taken up for the workers in the face of all the hardship faced by its consitituents? I miss the eras of late Pascal Bafayu and Adams Oshimole. The only thing I keep hearing about is: increase in minimum wage. How many states are even paying the minimum wage that a push for increase is being made. The workers have refused to hold their government accountable. If not, how can we have the Kogi saga that has beaten the record held by Rauf?? How do you owe workers 15 months salary in all good conscience and still wait with bated breath for Paris Club refund?? Why are the governors finding it hard to follow the example of the ‘neighbouring country’ Lagos?
In a country that is on semi-auto pilot, confusion in the economic market place, the noose of hardship tightening, information that Senegalese jollof rice is better than Nigerian ( further demoralization by our very own Minister of Information a few days to May 1st, had me thinking that was a low blow..sigh) It is almost wicked to say ‘happy’ May Day. What exactly is the Nigerian worker being happy about?
Don’t preach hope also- this is has contributed to stealing sense as the Nigerian worker ‘hopes’ from day to week to month to year and ‘hope’ never turns to reality.
Then the amazing keeps happening. The Nigerian survives. Trudges along. Gets money miraculously. Bears it all. Prays. And the cycle continues. It is time for the workers to be serious about their future. How this will happen with NLC ‘playing’ is yet to be seen.
Tomorrow work resumes with absolutely nothing achieved by marking the day.
At least I got to steam my hair.

1 Comment

  1. Bimbola
    May 2, 2017

    Such a shame indeed. Our “labour” in Nigeria is not that of “workers employed in an establishment or organizations/officials representing a group”, it is the ”expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory” (Webster dictionary)
    Happy Labourers Day indeed!

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