Who Are Pro-Labour Politicians?

July 4, 1983
2 mins read
Recent statements and actions of trade union leaders in respect of workers’ political positions cannot but give ranks and file workers a lot of concern and suspicion.
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Hassan Sunmonu, in his May Day address, had noted correctly that the rulers of this country have woefully failed the people in that “the real aspirations of our people for life more abundant, and the provision of their basic needs and necessities of life, such as food, pipe-borne water, electricity, decent housing, and clothing, are daily eluding them”.
However, in a manner that gives cause for suspicion, the N.L.C. leader changed course mid-way into the speech. In the forthcoming elections, according to him, “we are going to direct our members to openly campaign and vote for those politicians, regardless of the party they belonged to, provided they are pro-labour and have shown enough sympathy to the cause of the working class. We shall also direct them to campaign openly against and also urge people not to vote for those who are anti-labour and destructive to the cause of the working class movement. This is our duty so, to do!”
To convince all and sundry that the whole idea is (not) only Sunmonu’s but that of the entire leadership of the NLC, its National
Executive Council recently issued a statement “affirming the May Day directive”. This position taken by the NIC leadership is very ridiculous. It cannot but give one the impression that the working people of this country are about to be sold out to their enemies by those who are supposed to be their own leaders. Why is this so?
We of HANKALI and many other patriotic Nigerians know very well that as long as people-and especially the working people-live in society, cannot stay outside politics. Trade Union activities, restricted though in scope, cannot but have a mutual relationship with political activities that determined(and are conditioned by)the nature and successes of struggles waged from time to time. In a country like ours, where profits produced by the labour of toiling millions are owned by a few who contribute nothing towards the profit they make; where these few are those who own the gang of parasites called political parties; where these political parties control governments both at the federal and state levels; where all of them , for about four years running, has waged wars of different forms against workers, can any person (a labour leader)with honest intentions talk of “pro-labour politicians”? We say NO.
It is instructive to know that these same politicians are the partners of foreign interests who, as Directors, General Managers, and Chairmen of foreign-owned Companies, suck the labour-power of millions of Nigerian workers, tap profits therefrom and retrench them by their thousands at will. While the politicians are stacking money in their private foreign bank accounts, they are denying the working people their meager salaries. What is more, there is no state in Nigeria that has not witnessed several workers’ strikes since 1979. Are we to believe that these numerous strikes are embarked upon for fun? The answer is No!
As a way of summarizing the above, we should say that the rulers have so mismanaged the country for the past four years that the working people are living in unbearable conditions, the type which have never been seen in this country. The rulers themselves know it and are employing many dubious methods to deceive the people once again. The clearest was the attempt by a number of them to force the people (many of whom have lost interest in the rulers) to register as voters for the 1983 elections.
The elections themselves are nothing but festivals for the rulers for whom it is an exercise through which they get the people to LEGITIMIZE their ride into political power, misrule, and plunder of the country’s treasury.
Workers to vote for pro-labour politicians? No, and Yes. No, for the present, when there cannot be such politicians in the gangs of exploiters which carry the label of political parties. Yes, in the not-very-far future where there will be political parties OF the WORKING PEOPLE from which PRO-LABOUR POLITICIANS will truly emerge.

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