I have always anticipated that the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) will hear our clarion call to stop a little and listen to us being former senior comrades. I say this because we have been in this struggle over the years knowing fully how trade unions could prosper and get to the desired points.
The trade unions of this time being young and perhaps educated think less regarding how to achieve the desired goals on the backs of the unions they are riding to stardom.
Leaders of these trade unions do not contact former leaders to advise them on what to do to get near to what they would achieve on such desired goals. I repeatedly said I do just that in order to call upon our teeming young trade unionists to frequently contact others who actually were the leaders that could be of use to cultivating serious unsourced proper activism which however will usher a perfect goodness in achieving an innovative mechanism.
Since 2015, NULGE has been clamouring to have parity of access to what the Nigerian Constitution has accorded them, that is to chart the navigable course whereby no state governor will have the right to sit on their federal allocation. But since 2011 this unconstitutional matter has persisted, which is actually wrong. I do know that if such behaviour did get the nod of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Surely, it was from 2003-2007 that much of the constitutional abuses came into being. It was during Chief Obasanjo’s era that local government elections which were being done before by the INEC were handed over to the states. This gave rise to state governors bedeviling any tangible democratic elections whereby only the state’s ruling party would have a field day to sweep, at the wink of the eye, all the local government council chairs and of course those of councilors.
In 2015, local government elections say, in Kano State, of the 44 Local government councils no other party outside the ruling APC. This is madness. But this was made possible as oga Obasanj had yearned and the state governors even now have welcomed it despite its unconstitutionality, which is still going on unabated throughout Nigeria.
Now that NULGE’s desire for autonomy is a constitutional matter and the constitution is there and there is never a portion that allows the state governors to do what they are presently doing to the 774 local councils in Nigeria. If local government councils’ elections are rightly conducted without favour from the state governments, no one will take away the rights of any local government chairman.
The NULGE should assemble a formidable team of lawyers to go to the Supreme Court on this matter. Already, the apex court has given its verdict on Ekiti State workers. So if NULGE and its leadership are serious, this is the way out. Governments in Nigeria must abide by the court’s rulings because most of the time Nigerian governments do not sincerely abide by the court’s ruling if it is against their wish.
Time is now for the NULGE to promptly go to court for this rally won’t convince the state governments but strike will. However, they should go to the Supreme Court before embarking on a nationwide strike.
Comr. Ibrahim Abdu Zango,
Chairman, Kano Unity Forum