By NBF News

NLC, Iwu and journey to self-destruction
Thursday, March 11, 2010

How are the mighty fallen and the instruments of war destroyed. Times were when the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, spoke for the nation. Yes, it spoke and the nation reverberated in unism, poised for showdown with all enemies of the people and progress. Times were when it spoke, and Nigerians stood up to be counted, calling the bluffs of even the military and their bullets.

Times were when the NLC spoke, and open-toothed dictators and dark goggled dictators alike shivered and wetted their panties. Indeed, times were when the NLC's breathe caused tremors in the camps of the enemy.

But that was then- the fast fading good old days when national interest was always uppermost; when the NLC eschewed partisan politics, fought the course of the nation with clean hands and pure heart. Yes, looking at the present with the mirror of yesterday, memories of the NLC as the unarguable conscience of the nation and the memories of the vibrant and incorruptible leadership of its veterans come rushing back.

In fact, the fast decadence of NLC under its present crop of leaders, makes the charismatic, focused, and trustworthy leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomole of just yesterday look like it occurred centuries ago. And it is a palpable sign of deterioration of any group when people begin to yearn for its past so passionately over its present. That is why I am definitely paranoid over the growing loss of public confidence in the present crop of the NLC leadership.

We are moved to understand, once again, that big frame neither makes big brain nor does it necessarily confer bigger leadership qualities. Here is an NLC leader that lacks charisma, character, and consistency- the most treasured qualities in labour leadership. An Oshiomole-like leader, for instance, would have spoken up and acted vibrantly in the face of the abuse of our sensibilities by a few individuals who have grabbed the nation by the scrotum over Yar'Adua's French leave.

Worse still the alleged N500 million bribery scandal is a big hole in the integrity vista of the NLC leadership. I have chosen to believe it didn't happen- lest I die of a heart attack. Wise people don't take bribes (cash or kind) from the government anywhere in the world. The result is always scandalous since the intentions are always to mess up the beneficiaries.

The same government and its agents will leak the facts of the transactions and instruments of compromise to the press. But looking at the NLC's lukewarm attitudes on some recent national issues, the expunging of its statement of January 19, 2010 against deregulation from its website and the internal crises of confidence even within its leadership and between its leadership and affiliate organisations and the civil society allies, I grow paranoid. You look again at its folktale-like that it maintained silence over the Yar'Adua saga so as not to overheat the polity and also to prevent a situation in which some nefarious interests would cash in on that to truncate our democracy, then you cannot afford not to pity the NLC a great deal.

Unfortunately, just when we thought the National Executive Committee (NEC) convoked in Kaduna last week was to settle the bribery scandal rocking its ranks, re-strategize on means of self-rediscovery, the resurrection of its voice and vibrancy, it turned out that NLC woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and the whole meeting turned out to be about just one man- Maurice Iwu, not even the INEC as an institution. It is also ironical their reason for planning to hold a march to call for Iwu's removal was over the Anambra election. I didn't really believe it, but now I do believe that some persons reason from the anus.

So, of all the conflagrations of imminent problems facing the nation, all that seems most important to NLC leadership is to stage a rally against one man over an election local and international observers, including the UK High Commission and the observation board led by the NBA first National Vice Chairman had adjudged free,

fair, and credible? Something is definitely fishy! That was exactly the source of Ezeulu's tragic end in Chinua Achebe's 'Arrow of God'. I conclude that these personalised attacks against one man- Iwu- bears every imprimatur of abuse of office. That is the bane of our nation and a sure path to self destruction. But this deviousness and petty interests should stop. NLC, when it decides to wake up, should do so on the right side of the bed and repackage itself as an unbiased and potent voice of the masses.

•Lawal Public Analyst, Ilorin