Friday, May 25, 2007

Handing over Strike to President-Elect

The Oil workers (both Pengassan and Nupeng) embark on strike to protest the sale of Refineries which has paralysed activities in Nigeria. The strike which enter the 3rd day today has made it impossible for lifting of oil from fuel depots all over the country. There has been long queue of vehicles at filling stations, reminiscent of years before the present government took over power in 1999.
As if that was not enough, the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities) are also on strike to protest the government refusal to honour the agreement they had with it in 2001. This present strike is largely about funding of the universities and university autonomy with tangential emphasis on staff salaries, staff and student welfare and teaching aides. In addition, ASUU has resolved that the sacked 49 lecturers (some have died from complicities arising from poverty and hopelessness) be restored in the mainstream University of Ilorin academia, having committed no other offense than going on strike.
The PHCN staff are also gearing up for strike as they have issued notice of strike to also protest the sale of Egbin Thermal station.
As far as I am concerned, however genuine the strike may seems like, the strike is political in nature, there are some people somewhere that just want Obasanjo government to hand over power the way he met the country 8 years ago. They dont want everything to look business as usual when handing over to Yar'Adua. The truth is, this people in government that this strike were targeted would not be the one bearing the pain, it is we Nigerians. I continue to Ponder on whose behalf the oil workers are protesting the sale of refineries or the PHCN protest of sale of Egbin Thermal station when there had been sale of other institutions int he past. This Government had made it known that they wish to privatize some institutions that government had been funding in the past and Refineries and Thermal stations are just a small number of them. The exercise had been going on a long time ago by BPE, so I dont see the reason for this strike at all, it is just not the right time. Perhaps because the oil workers, ASUU and PHCN knew they can hold the nation into ransom, that is why they are doing this. I can just recalled correctly, but I know as a fact that this present administration had spent a fortune trying to turn around this Refineries, and up till today, they are still not refining at full capacities.
As for the ASUU strike, methinks they should have hold on till the new administration assume full duty, and then tender their grievances again to see whether he has a listening ear, by welcoming him to office with strike means they are not ready to cooperate with his administration. Same reasons goes to the Oil workers. The PHCN staff are probably trying to utilize this avenue before embarking on their own strike.
As for the 49 Universities lecturer that was sacked at Unilorin, I don't see that being reversed, Government or Institutions are known to be adamant on such matters, I guess that is the sacrifices the concerned lecturers will pay for participating in strikes. The only person who can do that is the incoming administration, and with the strike the ASUU is staging now, which looks like a confrontation, it does not help their matters one bit.
The government had indeed warned that any striking workers would not longer be paid for the period they are on strike. They had similarly directed NUC not to pay the ASUU during the period they are on strike, same decisions will be binding on all other body on strikes.
This is what this blogger keeps saying, the situation in Nigeria is volatile as it is, it will degenerates the more if oil workers, PHCN and ASUU continue with their strike. It may only point to uneasiness for government, but the striking workers (as could be seen withthe fate of 49 Unilorin workers) and we the masses are the one that suffer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

did some of d sacled lecturers really!thats too bad