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We’re Not Politicians, It’s Our Right To Protest, TUC Replies Tinubu

“What I am interested in is the welfare of my members and indeed the entire Nigerian masses. So, what the president said for me is alien to us because the right to protest and the right to strike is that of the workers


We’re Not Politicians, It’s Our Right To Protest, TUC Replies Tinubu
FILE: TUC President Festus Osifo

 

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has responded to a dig by President Bola Tinubu where he told the labour unions to stop their protests and wait for 2027 to join the political process.

The President at the inauguration of the Lagos Red Line project on Thursday maintain peace as they are not the only voice for Nigerians.

But reacting to the President’s remarks on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, the President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, said members of his union are not politicians and that they have the right to protest.

READ ALSO: We’re Not After Your Job, Implement Our Agreements, NLC Replies Tinubu

“I listened to that comment yesterday where he said that we should wait for 2027 if we want to contest for elections. I could speak for Trade Union Congress, we are not politicians, we are unionists, it is our right to protest – it is a fundamental right of every single Nigeria,” Osifo said.

“So we don’t have issues with protests, when need be, people will exercise their rights and people must protest. In terms of waiting till 2027 to enter into politics, I don’t think that is something we could dabble into because I as an individual I am not a card-carrying member of any political party.

“What I am interested in is the welfare of my members and indeed the entire Nigerian masses. So, what the president said for me is alien to us because the right to protest and the right to strike is that of the workers.

“There are condition precedents, for the fact that you are going on protest or strike, there are some things that led to it, those fundamental issues must be addressed.”

‘We’re not sellouts’

Osifo also responded to comments that the TUC betrayed the NLC by not joining in the last protest against hardship on Tuesday.

He said the TUC was never part of any agreement to go for protest and therefore could not be said to have opted out.

“I’ll just explain exactly what happened to you. Now, you see when you have when you say somebody opt out from a process, it means that the person was in before, it means that there was an agreement to do something.

“When there is an agreement to do something at the last minute, you will not say I am not doing again. That is opting out, then you can use the word sold out. But in this scenario, there wasn’t any agreement to do anything.

“We did not have any conversation; nobody even mentioned it to us that this is the direction to go. That conversation never took place. So as long as that also never took place, we never opt out of anything. If there was an initial agreement that let’s go for a protest, the winner say we are not going for that protest.

“You could call that opt out, you could call that sold out, you could call that anything. But in this scenario, there was no understanding at all. In fact, there was no discussion that could have even led to any understanding,” he said.

Osifo’s comment on the President’s remarks was in accordance with the Nigerian Labour Congress earlier on Friday.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement, said they are not interested in Tinubu’s position but are demanding that he implements all the agreements the Labour unions reached with the Federal Government following the removal of fuel subsidy.

Ajaero said the NLC found the remarks of the President, particularly those concerning the role of Labour in governance, to be profoundly at variance with the struggles faced by ordinary Nigerians under existing policies.