A former presidential aide, Laolu Akande, has described the ongoing nationwide strike by the labour unions as a distraction while urging President Bola Tinubu to intervene.
Akande noted that the nation has bigger problems to deal with especially the current hardship being faced by Nigerians and the fiscal crisis of the Federal Government.
While featuring on Tuesday’s Channels Television’s programme, ‘Politics Today,’ Akande appealed to the President to put an end to a myriad of national problems compounded by the national strike ordered by the National Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, which commenced on Tuesday.
Akande said, “Mr. President has said that the bucks stop at his table, so we need to address Mr. President and say, look, Mr. President, fix this! We don’t need this distraction.
“The nation has more important problems to deal with. The people are suffering, the last thing that people want to have to deal with is a national strike. We don’t need this strike and I believe that it can be sorted out as quickly as possible. I don’t see a very big problem here,”
When asked whether the strike was political or not, he responded, “That is why we have leaders. Our leaders are political leaders, elected political leaders to solve political problems.
“We have to balance it. The labour does have a responsibility, is it entirely right to bring the entire nation to its knees because of a local issue in Imo? Wouldn’t it have been better to localise this thing in Imo? That’s for labour. I am not sure that punishing the whole country for whatever it is that is happening in Imo State, I’m not sure that is the right decision on the part of the labour movement.
“But for the government, starting from the President, all the way down, this is something that can be sorted out with a single phone call. A phone call from the Villa to the Labour leaders would get them running into the Villa. You know this is not the first time the government has had to deal with labour.
“This is the kind of action that we need. We don’t need any further delay, we need the President to get on the ball and sort this thing out and he can sort it out very quickly. Mr President fix this,”
He was however categorical in condemning the inhumane treatment meted out to the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, recently in Imo State, and described the treatment as ‘criminal.’
Recalling the promise by the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, to investigate the assault on the NLC president, Akande commended the IG for making a swift response.
He noted, “It’s important to say that what happened to Mr. Joe Ajaero in Imo State is criminal. You know, you don’t beat up people, that is an assault on the man and that is a crime. So, we need to put that in perspective to say that this is not right.”
Pressed further on what he thought could have been the best approach the Labour union leaders could have adopted to express their grievances, Akande responded, “From what I’ve gathered so far this is essentially a local issue. You heard from the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzondinma, to say that this is a local political issue.”
“There are allegations that Mr. Ajaero is partisan towards the Labour Party and all of that, so indeed we can say this is an Imo State issue, it will be more appropriate to deal with this issue in Imo State and not make it a national issue. I think it is a bit of a stretch from the labour movement.”