November 19, (THEWILL) – The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), just restored electricity supply in Imo after National leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and that of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), called off the strike.
Suspension of the industrial action was said to have been reached during a meeting that lasted for an hour, during which state chapters of the unions reviewed outcome of their meeting on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, in Abuja.
The day Ndaa Joe Ajaero, current National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), emerged winner of the keenly contested election of the labour union, most of us were so excited that one of our brothers is now occupying that enviable position that had eluded the Southeast since the creation of Nigeria.
Not only the NLC president is of the Igbo extraction, he hails from Imo State, precisely Emekuku community, in Owerri North Local Government Area. His emergence as the NLC National President was greeted by lots of jubilation by people of the State, bearing in mind that he would contribute to the development of his State.
For over Sixteen days, The entire Imo State was unnecessarily subjected to an untold hardship over power outage occasioned by issue that could have been resolved amicably. The industrial action embarked upon by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), under the aegis of Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria in Imo State, is condemnable.
This ugly development can be said to have paralysed socio-economic activities in the State. Hotels, saloons, Artisans’ workshops, Fuel stations, Churches, Schools, Supermarkets, Mosque and others that are under life support of electricity generation. A litre of fuel now sells for Seven Hundred Naira (N700) of which many families and business owners are not comfortable with.
How can a service industry throw Imo residents into a total blackout for over fifteen days now without feeling the pains people are going through?
What is the fate of the EEDC prepaid customers, who subscribed for power and their money taken? What about Gotv and DStv millions of customers.
I could remember during the time of Ndaa Joe Ajaero’s predecessor, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, Imo State particularly, never witnessed such a power cut-off for whatsoever reason. That Wabba was even the NLC President that gave former Governor, Rochas Okorocha, a tough time. Throughout their logger heads, Imo never experienced this. Even though the EEDC embarked on strike that time, it would have been contained than now the price of fuel-pump has risen.
It is true that the NLC President was beaten by yet-to-be identified persons, in Owerri, while he was leading an unorganised protest against the present administration.
Although government has distanced itself from assaulting Comrade Ajaero. He organised the ill-fated protect at a wrong time. This issue would have been averted if the protest leader was well informed. But why must Ndaa Joe come to Imo, his dear State, to lead a protest during electioneering period? Why did he not travel to other States in the Southeast for the purpose instead of Imo? Anyway, such is life. It appears he stepped on the toes of those in the politicking activities.
In fact, Sen. Uzodimma is the most friendly governor among his counterparts in Nigeria. If Comrade needed an issue that requires to be clarified, Uzodimma would have obliged him audience. Are they not brothers from same State? Owerri North, the hometown of the NLC President, has benefitted from the people-oriented administration of the shared prosperity government. Comrade Joe Ajaero and Governor Hope Uzodimma are supposed to have become “Five and Six” instead of “Cat and Dog” as might have been misconstrued by the myopic minds.
Since the present administration came on board, Imo State had hosted virtually National Presidents of all the associations in Nigeria who paid him (Uzodimma) a courtesy call at the Government House, Owerri. Unfortunately, I have never heard nor read that the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, visited his brother, Governor Hope Uzodimma. If I may ask, who is Comrade Ajaero bearing grudges for? Ndi Imo or unknown forces? Can Ndaa Joe pinpoint his achievements in the couple of months he assumed of office as NLC president?
It is high time he tackled lingering issue (I doubt, if any) he is having with the Imo State government. Ndaa Joe should forget the past and give heed to the State anytime he would be called upon for roundtable discussion. On the order hand, The Imo State government, the Commissioner for Labour, Employment & Productivity, should not fail to fulfil all righteousness by inviting Comrade Ajaero to rub minds together with a view to knowing what his grievances and how they could be possibly addressed.
This is time that Nigerians need not to be saddened by any action or inaction that could throw them into untold hardship. Imo people in particular and Nigerians in general are facing hard times. The Labour should please, close ranks with the Federal and States governments and reason together for a logical conclusion.
Ndaa Joe Ajaero should mellow out in his actions as the Labour president. We are all humans. Governor Hope Uzodimma and his younger brother, Ndaa Joe Ajaero, should meet and reconcile.
*** Written by Sampson Uhuegbu