The recently called-off Strike led by Wabba-factioned labour union can be categorized as unpopular and uneventful. The strike was unpopular because majority of other labour associations and civil societies except ASUU did not join the strike action and Nigerians avoided the strike action like plague and the calling off was uneventful because majority of Nigerians felt the strike was unnecessary and should not have happened in the first place.
The strike action was reported to have enjoyed relative success in some states like Ekiti, Kwara and Jos while in major cities of Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja; there was no evidence of strike action except for some flashes at the Fadeyi, Mile 2 and Lagos Airport in Lagos environ. The strike action was called off with less fanfare that usually accompanies such event.
The following lessons can be deduced from the recent called-off strike as the justifications for why the strike action experienced low turn-out and compliance in the country and why future strike actions must aggregate all interests and fight the government with a united front.
Reality Disconnect: The strike action would have enjoyed public compliance, if labour had clamour for an increase in minimum wage in the face of hike in pump price and removal of subsidy. From the government perspective, removal of subsidy was necessary and reason for removal was never doubted by majority of the masses. Instead of labour towing the path of common sense by seeking for palliative measures to cushion the effect of subsidy removal on the Nigerian masses, they stubbornly stick to government reversing their stance thereby disconnecting them from the reality.
Increase Economic Hardship on Nigerians: I doubt if labour union have the interest of Nigerian masses at heart in recent times. At a time, the country is currently experiencing one of the worst economic hardship in the form of falling value of naira against the dollar, prolonged fuel scarcity, increase in the prices of transportation and consumable goods, lack of stable power supply among others, Labour decide to add gasoline to fire by engaging in strike action.
Motive Doubt: One of the major reasons by the strike action failed to achieve potency is the fact that majority of Nigerians were not sure of the motive of the strike action. Many questions were posed to the labour union to ascertain their motive because a strike action for government to reverse removal of subsidy decision; Is in whose interest and who stands to gain more???. From any perspective, one decide to look at it, the motive of the strike action does not benefit an average Nigerian but rather oil marketers and profiteers of subsidy.
Divide And Rule Policy Of Government: One of the major lessons that can be deduced from the just called-off strike is that labour union cannot afford to fight the government divided. A united labour union would have instil fear in the government and gained the trust of Nigerian masses. The government sensing the division in the rank and file of labour, decided to negotiate with its different factions separately, the moment the Ajaero-led faction of Labour pull out of the strike action, the Wabba-led faction lost the battle. One candid advise to Labour, “Put Your House In Order”.
Written by Dosunmu Moshood