The Nigerian Labour Congress, or NLC, has pleaded with Nigerians, particularly workers and the oppressed, to use the upcoming 2023 general elections to build a better Nigeria by electing reputable candidates with well-known sterling antecedents, traits, attitudes, and aptitude toward a great, prosperous, and united country.
The National Leadership Council (NLC) stated in an Independence message titled “OUR DREAM FOR A GREAT NIGERIA WILL NEVER DIE” that when active political campaigns for the general elections in 2023 began, the nation’s youths, women, and workers must ask politicians how they plan to turn the dreams of a better country into reality.
In the message by its President, Ayuba Wabba, NLC, among others, said, “There is no demography that has passionately carried forward the dreams of a great Nigeria than the workforce. The working people of Nigeria have refused to give up on their dreams for a better and greater country. This is why most talented and dedicated workers have refused to leave the country despite the allures of better pay and living conditions abroad. It is this bright dream that has kept many of our health workers in Nigeria even though their counterparts abroad earn a fortune, but they have decided to stay here and continue serving their fellow compatriots.
“Many of our lecturers and other university workers whose services are highly sought after outside the shores of our country have remained here despite several disappointments from the system because the Nigerian dream still beats in their hearts. The same goes for our primary and secondary school teachers, our pilots, our farmers, our traders, our artisans, our engineers, our surveyors, our lawyers, our civil servants, and our armed services personnel.
“We can say the same for our resilient youth who have refused to join the outbound caravan in search of greener pastures. Instead of leaving, many of our young people have taken the dream of a great country seriously. This is the reason they have dared fear in this season of political contestation. They are asking the right questions. They are making effective demands. They have taken their destiny into their own hands. They are not giving or accepting “shishii”. They are marching the path trod by our heroes past who delivered the Independence we are celebrating. Nigerian youths have led the way in showing us that the politics that will deliver the Nigeria of our dream are the type that must transcend religious and ethnic bias.
“The Nigeria of our dream is a Nigeria where university students will not stay at home for seven months simply because elected public officials prefer to send their kids abroad and forget the kids of workers and the poor at home. The Nigeria of our dreams is a Nigeria where the government will not allow citizens on board public trains to be killed, maimed, traumatised, kidnapped, and brutalised in the bush for nearly seven months now, and the government appears helpless.
“The Nigeria of our dreams is a country where infrastructure works – where there is adequate electricity to power the potentials of our youths and working people – where public schools and public hospitals are mostly free, affordable, and efficient.
“The Nigeria of our dream is where workers are paid living wages and earn decent minimum wages without negotiating endlessly with the government. When eventually negotiated, they fought state Governors for months on end for the minimum wage to hit workers’ bank accounts. The Nigeria of our dream is a country where the government takes its role as the moral compass of society seriously and so does not threaten workers with “no work… no pay” and still expects workers to abdicate their right to “no pay… no work”.
“The Nigeria of our dream is where our pensioners are paid their entitlements as and when due without being subjected to the humiliation of endless biometric tests and long hours of queuing. Our dream country is where workers are paid their gratuity once they disengage from public service and are not made to wait endlessly by self-serving elected public officials. Public officials who award themselves pensions and eye-watering severance packages are usually delivered upfront, even before they leave public office.
“The Nigeria our heart yearns for is a country where Production Economy replaces Consumption Economy – where our factories and agricultural plantations are revitalised, and our young people can find gainful jobs. It is a country where public refineries work and where mass importation of refined petroleum products with all of its severe socio-economic dislocations is made a thing of the past.
“Our dream Nigeria shows the way by using continental and global instruments such as African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inspire other African countries that a socio-economically emancipated Africa is possible.
“The Nigeria of our dream is a country that works for everyone – where there is the rule of law, where every citizen has a sense of belonging and does not need to live in perpetual fear of lurking evil. It is a country where our women can aspire to their highest potentials and are free from mental and physical harassment and violence.
“Our dream Nigeria is a country with actual and affordable public services and infrastructure, including well-maintained roads with decent drainages, potable public water supply, and a clean environment. Our dream country is a country where public transport works. It is a country with zero tolerance for out-of-school children and where no mother needs to die trying to give life.
“Like the mice asked themselves, “who will bell the cats?” At this 62nd Independence commemorations, we ask the Nigerian political class “, who will deliver the Nigeria of our dream?”, especially as have been elaborately captured in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands. We ask those seeking elective political offices in the 2023 general elections “what are your plans for the Nigeria of our dream?”.
“At the commencement of active political campaigns for the 2023 general polls, we urge our youths, our women, and our workers to ask our politicians how they plan to take the Nigeria of our dreams from our hearts and put it in our workplaces, our pay checks, our homes, our legal instruments, our schools, our hospitals, our roads, rails, inland waterways, our courts, and other shared spaces.
“We must do ourselves the justice of a lifetime by voting into political power only credible candidates who assure us by their sterling antecedents, attributes, attitudes, and aptitude that our collective dreams of a great, prosperous, and united Nigeria will never die.”