By ADEOLA ADEROUNMU, Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Strike’

Everybody is on Strike in Nigeria

By Adeola Aderounmu

ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) is on strike
Doctors are on strike
Radio and Television (RATTAWU) workers are on strike
NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) staffs are on strike

What kind of country is Nigeria really?

It is in this same country that politicians cart away billions of naira annually by ensuring that their own exaggerated salaries, allowances, and bonuses are paid as promptly as possible. The politicians are sharing billions of naira daily through their takeaways while the rest of the population continue to struggle between thick and thin to get their own rewards for their different labours.

ASUU is fighting brain drain and the decay of infrastructure in the public Universities. ASUU has been doing that for ages and the agreement they had with the Nigerian government in 2001 is the crux of the matter in 2009. Sometimes it is very difficult to understand the real problems. For example, how can agreements made in 2001 remain unfulfilled in 2009? It’s sickening!

I am sure that the other strikes are also related to unfulfilled promises on the part of the Nigerian government. NEPA staffs are also threatening strike actions! Isn’t that funny? There is almost no electricity in Nigeria and the PHCN or NEPA staffs are planning a strike. It appears that they know something that the rest of us don’t know. We’ll see where this takes us next.

The bottom line is that I see a government or successive governments devoid of both mission and vision. A delusionary government that wants to be one of the top 20 nations in 2020….someone should tell the rulers to shut their mouths and stop deceiving themselves. In 2020 the government will be looking at 2050. This can only be prevented through drastic changes in government attitudes and drastic measures that will promote sincerity of purpose and visionary leadership.

As the country remains in paralysis mode, the current emphasis is now how to capture government houses in 2011. Two years to the next election, evil plans have already been laid to rig elections and once again ensure that the votes are not counted.

INEC has not been restructured and the important recommendations of the election committee have been set aside to continue to ensure that autocracy is the norm rather than democracy.

Nigeria is not yet a serious country. When she is ready, first she will fight corruption and get rid of it from her system. Second, she will arrest and jail corrupt men and women and thirdly, she will lay the foundations for strong democratic structures.

Starting from the top, Nigerians need to be re-orientated on how to build a strong and vibrant nation. Surely selfishness, corruption, election rigging and looting are not parts of the prerequisites that will determine the 20 biggest economies in 2020.

Certainly an inactive, illegitimate and non-vibrant leadership is a big minus for a sleeping giant of sub-Saharan Africa. Pity!

If NEPA goes on strike..!

By Adeola Aderounmu.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has threatened to go on strike if Umaru made good his promise to declare a state of Emergency (SOE) in the power sector. Now, this is Nigeria at work.

Unless my interpretation is wrong, this should mean that NEPA workers are threatening to go on strike? It is possible that ninety-nine percent of Nigerians do not have electricity in their homes while these men and women are at work at NEPA or PHCN. What then shall we miss if they go on strike? Can it be worse than now that cockroaches and rats breed safely in our second–hand Ojuelegba deep freezers?

In fairness to the Electricity Workers the problems in the power sector is out of their control or human resource capabilities. The problems have more association with the general negligence and mis-governance perpetrated by the leadership at the centre over the past four decades. The various looting governments have betrayed the masses while amassing wealth to themselves. In Nigeria, there is nothing like maintenance culture or improvement of the states of infrastructure.

Looters and thieves like Abacha, Buhari, Babangida, Abdulsalami and Obasanjo are big parts of the reasons why NEPA became an extremely miserable statutory body. The NUEE is taking the issue of the SOE very seriously and the union representatives have challenged Umaru in a way that one cannot ignore.

They are of the opinion that Umaru knows nothing about the problems in the power sector. In another way, one can postulate that if Umaru knows the problems he is pretending he doesn’t by looking the other way.

From the 2008 oil windfall, Umaru’s government is planning to spend a fresh $5bn in fixing the electricity problem. What about getting back the billions from Obasanjo and his gangs who pocketed several billions in the last decade while pretending to be working on the problem?

What will be the implication of a declaration of SOE in the power sector? How will that translate to improved power supply for the helpless masses that do not have the same privilege or opportunity as the high and mighty residing in the Maitama District of Abuja?

In NUEE words: if the government can take the supply level to 50, 000MW there will be a substantial improvement in the supply of electricity to Nigerians. This is a very powerful statement and a very serious indictment of the federal government. Has it been a deliberate wickedness that power supply in Nigeria today is below 2, 000 MW? Who or what is responsible for the dismal supply that we have today?

There are certain individuals and establishments today in Nigeria that would never wish for any improvement in the power situation. They are smiling to the bank daily as they make good money from selling generators to the helpless masses. Of course, this story is not new but one can only imagine that the recklessness in the oil sector has spilled to the generator business. In Nigeria personal interests have continued to override national interests. What a shame?

The NUEE went ahead to inform Nigerians that the SOE in the power sector will not change anything in Nigeria. They also have words for the prayer warriors of Nigeria. You can pray and fast for as long as you want to but if this government does not build power stations, nothing will change and declaring a state of emergency is not the way to go about it either. Sadly, it takes 3 years before a power station can be completed and functional.

If NEPA workers in present day Nigeria go on strike they will probably not be missed. Instead the people will be happy that there will be no electricity bills for the power supply that they didn’t get in the first place. So for their own good NUEE should drop the threat and await the implications of the SOE that Umaru has up his sleeves.

Who knows? Part of the $5bn may be used to settle their salaries arrears and to effect payment of future salaries. This might be the year they have also been praying and fasting for! A year and a new era when they don’t have to use false billings to supplement their pay package!

We shall all see if this SOE implies the prosecution of the saboteurs in the power sector. Will it mean an end to some individuals and companies making profits at the expense of the downtrodden masses? We will get to find out how Umaru will improve the power supply by building new power stations or upgrading the existing ones to maximum output/ efficiency.

With a declaration of SOE in the power sector imminent, Nigerians who have been paying for the power that is not available will be anxious to know if the hopes that they have kept alive over the years will finally payoff or not. On this matter, NEPA or NUEE should have a little patience with Umaru just as the rest of us have done with NEPA over the years.

I am not a fan of Umaru at all (because I will not forget that he was imposed illegally on Nigerians by Obasanjo) but in the absence of any choice at this moment and in the presence of our overstretched resiliency I am very keen on what SOE means in the power sector.

If the effects will be magical in less than 3 years that is required to build a functional power station, then I would argue that SOE should be declared on Nigerian roads, housing system, educational system, health system, anti-corruption system, socio-welfare system, political system and the scandalous electoral processes among other grossly neglected aspects of our difficult lives.

If the whole shout of SOE is another sham then I’ll never forget how a battling Umaru became part of our shameful history in the first place.

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