Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, was attacked in Owerri, the Imo State capital, but the whole country appears primed to suffer for the attack as the leadership of the two prominent workers’ unions in the country, the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) has resolved to shut the country down next week Wednesday.
A strike causes businesses in the country to lose billions of Naira, while many who depend on daily pay often go without earnings.
The executive committees of the unions reached the resolution after an extraordinary National Executive Council meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
Already, mobilisation of members and allies has begun, they said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who many in Imo state allege was behind the attack on Ajaero, got his own baptism of fire as students of the Imo State University (IMSU) booed him when he came calling with his campaign train.
Students kept shouting “no light, no light” as he walked to the campaign platforn, mounted it, and as he left.
The students blame the governor for the action of electricity workers, who cut off the power supply to the major parts of the state capital, including the school, for four days.
Ajaero became NLC helmsman after a long stint as the leader of the powerful National Union of Electricity Workers.
Last Wednesday, Ajaero was arrested by the Police, allegedly brutalised and hospitalised for organising a rally to protest against withheld wages of workers in the state.
In his explanation for the ugly incident that led to the labour chief almost losing his right eye, Governor Uzodinma told journalists in Abuja,
“What has happened in this ugly coincidence is that the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress is from Imo State and has not been able to demarcate the difference between being a national leader of an organisation and then an interested party in local politics…
“I understand the sensitivity of this event (protest). But I want you people to be careful because there is an attempt to mix up partisan politics or an attempt to blackmail my government.
“I can tell you that my people are already aware; that was why the NLC Imo State chapter addressed a world press conference that what their national leadership is doing is not correct and that they are not going to embark on any strike or protest.
“In the process, they decided to dissolve them to put in a caretaker. Of course, I’m the Chief Security Officer and I have a responsibility to intervene. I encourage the national leadership not to dissolve a management team that their tenure has not expired, and that was what they did.”