NATIONAL leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, stormed Labour House, the headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to beg the leadership of the union, led by Ayuba Wabba, to suspend the ongoing strike it embarked over increment in the fuel pump by the federal government.
But after taking the plea from the politician, the factional NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, who said he was open to resume negotiation with the government,vowed that the strike would continue.
The APC national leader, who arrived Labour House in company of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State,senators Kabir Marafa and Suleiman Hunkuyi among some members of the party, appealed to the union to call off the strike and resume negotiation with government on the contending issues.
“I am here to appeal to you to understand that whatever you are doing now and whatever this government, led by Buhari is doing is for the development of all Nigerians.
“I have come to appeal to you to suspend the action you have embarked upon and return to the negotiating table,” he said.
He added: “I came to appeal to you to go back to history that we worked very hard to bring Nigeria to progressive path. Tinubu, who attributed misunderstanding between government and the people to dearth of teaching of history in schools,tasked senators to urgently initiate bill on compulsory teaching of the subject.
He insisted that the National Assembly must initiate the bill on history because according to him, “the problem now is that political history is no longer being taught.”
Pleading for the Buhari administration,he said: “I can guarantee that this government is the government of honesty and integrity. “Whatever is the anger,we must apply anger management.
“Whatever is the difference, I appeal to you,let’s go back to the negotiating table,let’s call off this strike.
He added:”Yes,it’s good to fight out your differences,we are in a democracy,we have the freedom but we will end up negotiating and agreeing with one another. I come on behalf of my party,I come on behalf of our government. It’s our collective government, APC is for progress, APC is for change. That is my submission.
Responding,NLC factional president,Ayuba Wabba,said he had heard the Tinubu-led delegation’s message, assuring that he would convey it appropriately to the union’s various organs.
But he flayed the government over what he described as engagement in negotiations with both factions of the union, with a view to having divide and rule.
Even as he said his union was open to resume negotiation with the government,Wabba vowed to press ahead with the strike.
Hear him: “Your excellency,let me first thank you immensely for finding time and thinking it apt to visit the secretariat of the working class,the secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
“This alone,I think,has demonstrated the fact that you are concerned about the issues of development in our country and I think we must put on record,our appreciation for that,despite the fact that you know the situation we are in and despite the fact that you know the action we are in, which also may have captured very well that this action is not about personal issues,it’s about engaging policies.
“Overtime,NLC has actually led the vanguard and I think we have collaborated with a lot of civil society organisations even in the fight to bring about democracy.
“And I think these are some of the traditions that we cherish so much to actually continue to fight for policy engagement and also to ensure that there is development to address the issue of poverty and bring about social justice.
“And therefore,I think there is no much difference as regards what we are saying. I think the difference is only the approach.
“We have taken note of the plea that you have made including this high-level delegation and I assure you that this will be discussed and communicated to the appropriate organ of NLC because as you know,we are a very democratic organisation and therefore,in most cases,we take decision from beneath and the leaders much actually brush through it.
“But I think this opportunity will actually require that we also convey this same information and plea of the delegation that are here.
“I want to assure you that we have never at any time refused discussion or negotiation. What actually happened was that when we reached a deadlock,government said we should excused them and they started plying this issue of divide and rule.
“NLC has 43 and as I am talking to you,under our leadership, we have 37 affiliates, the local government workers 777 and all the big affiliates of NLC. So,if somebody controls six and government on record has it that Ayuba Wabba-led NLC is what they recognised, I don’t think it will augur well in a dispensation that all of us fought for to bring about change that can be able to make meaningful life to Nigerians to decide to play with it.
“We realised that the negotiation was going concurrently. These people will meet with government in the morning and others will meet in the afternoon and we thought it’s not healthy.
“I thought that on the basis of truth,we stand to actually advance all those issues and therefore,I want to immensely thank you,the leader of the APC, for this visit and I assure you that this message will be convey and certainly,we shall try to ensure that our people will be able to appreciate this visit.
“I want to assure you that we will be very considerate and we are open to discussion,we are ready to resume discussion and such things will be communicated to our members and we will certainly see how we will be able to make progress in the interest of our nation,”he said.