From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

National President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has given the reason why the leadership of the labour movement in thr country has not called for mass actions against the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the scarcity of both the newly redesigned naira notes and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

He explained that there might have been a grand plan from the powers that be to use the twin scarcity of naira notes and fuel to disrupt the conduct of this year’s general elections, slated for February 25th and March 11th, saying NLC would not want to be part of whatever, will cause disruption of the polls.

He made the disclosure during an interview with journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, after the commissioning of Food Union Hotel and Suites, Apata, Ibadan, built by the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), under the leadership of its outgoing national president, Lateef Oyelekan.

According to Wabba, “We want the election to hold. Basically, I would agree from what is happening; possibly there is also a theory to actually push Nigerians to the wall so that Nigerians will react, and therefore will disrupt the election process. 

“We will not be part of that disruptive tendencies. We want the election to hold and be free and fair. We want Nigerians to be able to elect leaders that can change this negative narrative.

“As far back as 12th of December 2022, we wrote to the CBN Governor the likely consequence of the action he was about to take in redesigning the naira notes, without consultation and dialogue with stakeholders. He took the action unilaterally. 

Related News

“We have seen it come to pass the consequence that we warned him against. Also, we wrote  to Mr. President as NLC to tell him what we envisaged because the entire economy of Nigeria and lather part of Africa is mostly informal.

“So, people trade in their small and medium scale businesses in actual currencies. By the time you retrieve the old currencies, and the new ones are not available, what you can see is chaos. When I was coming to Ibadan this morning, in every bank, I have seen a very chaotic situation, where people are losing a lot of man-hour. People queue in banks to retrieve their hard-earned money that government cannot give them.

“It is really a situation that has called for concern for every right thinking Nigerian. It is condemnable. We have condemned the situation. Nigerians are not supposed to be in this type of situation, because we are a country that is blessed in terms of resources. This is why we said the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) Revolution is important for us to change the negative narrative, not to lament, not to join them in disruptive tendencies.”

On the scarcity of fuel, Wabba stated: “It is a situation that is really unbecoming. It is very pathetic and condemnable. We have told every Nigerian the only way we can bring in a better society. Our politicians have become immune to strike and protest. But we know there is a ‘PVC Revolution’ going on, where we can elect leaders of our choice that we believe can fix the problems.

“Basically, at the eve of elections like this, it is really unfortunate that these issues are happening, either deliberately or because they believe that Nigerians cannot exercise their rights to freely vote and get people that they want as their leaders. So, I call on all Nigerians, including workers to use the current election cycle to vote leaders that will change  the negative narrative.

“The issue of price modulation has failed and the issue of continued importation of fuel as well as complaints that there is subsidy have failed. What is the option? The option is to be refining the product here in Nigeria. This is the position of NLC, and that os why we refused to engage them in this issue of reducing or increasing the price because it has been a viscous cycle  for the past 30 years. What is important is policy change… God has given us this product free of charge. What is lacking I the political will to make the four refineries to work, and also encourage private refineries to come in. These at what will address this problem.”