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PDP, Labour Party Backs NLC Protests As APC Fears Possible Hijack




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Photos: Joe Ajaero Leads NLC Protest In Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), two significant opposition groups, have endorsed the ongoing two-day protest of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

This endorsement comes just as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) expressed worries about possible protest hijacking.

Punch Newspaper reports that the opposition parties on Monday argued that the hardships faced by the people on the economic front are sufficient to motivate them to join labor unions in protest of the Federal Government’s insensitivity.

Naija News recalls that NLC president Joe Ajaero had threatened a total economic shutdown if any of the protesting members were attacked at Tuesday’s demonstration.

His threat also comes only a few days after the Department of State Services urged labor to put the protest on hold due to concerns that it would be hijacked by fifth columnists and used to wreak havoc across the nation.

However, the PDP’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Ibrahim, told newsmen that the populace is always prepared to oppose any policies that are against the interests of the people.

Ibrahim said, “Labour has always been consistent in terms of expressing their misgivings because they are the ones interfacing with the workers. So it is not going to be the first time. I doubt if there is any government since Independence that has not contended with the protest or expression of agitation by labour.

“So the NLC is justified. The PDP agrees with labour. The reality on the ground defies human comprehension. You cannot expect Nigerians to fold their hands because it is an APC government that is in place. The NLC stormed the streets when it was the PDP. They did the same during the military regime. I don’t see any rationale for anybody to think the NLC is out to frustrate this government.

“The people have never been worse off as we are seeing it today. Purchasing power in the country has declined to an all-time worse. The inflation rate is also high. “Everybody should come out for this protest, including labour, civil society organisations and traders. The PDP is absolutely in support of this protest.”

A spokesman for the Labour Party Campaign Organisation, Yunusa Tanko, emphasized that people have the right to express their dissatisfaction with anti-people policies.

Tanko said, “Obviously, some policies of this government are anti-people. We are talking about a government that promised people palliatives and failed to provide them. Is it not this same government that promised civil servant increment of salary? The people are yet to see it.

“The question is how long will this government continue to use the instrumentality of law to stifle the voices of the masses? For us in LP, the protest is justifiable. In fact, the NLC needs to take it further by demanding Constitutional review including that of the Electoral Act reform that is not giving us the right kind of leadership we want.

“Because of this, INEC is still under the whims and caprices of the Federal Government hence they cannot independently conduct elections. The people are tired and definitely have the right to speak up.”

However, the ruling APC voiced fear that the demonstration could derail if it is hijacked.

APC’s spokesperson, Bala Ibrahim stated that President Bola Tinubu directly addressed the suffering of the people in several of his broadcasts, demonstrating his awareness of their plight.

Ibrahim said, “The beauty of democracy is that it allows people to register their dismay or dislike where they feel the government is not doing well. But there is a proviso. In doing that, they must know that the right to protest is theirs. But that right stops where other people’s own begins.

“In a situation like this, the government has been honest enough to admit that indeed there is hardship in the land and people are going through distress. But circumstances necessitate the introduction of certain reforms with a view to getting certain solutions. It is like someone who has a fracture or dislocation. When he comes to fix it, there will be pain everywhere.

“I agree the country is in a state of unease. But the government is not insensitive to the feelings of the people just as the president admitted. Tinubu has made a broadcast where he said he felt the pains of the people from Lagos to Kano and every nook and cranny of the country. We don’t want this protest to be hijacked.

“The NLC should have a rethink. Let’s not do something that will be injurious simply because we want to play to the gallery. This protest is ill-timed. We implore them to give the FG a benefit of doubt and see what is being done. But certainly, things are being done that are in line with the yearning of the people.”