Jun 20, 2007

Omar VS Umar. Who Shall Win?

President Umar Musa Yar'adua needs no introduction. He's the president of Nigeria. Mr Abdulwaheed Omar is the President of the National Labor Congress (NLC), having recently taken over from Adams Oshiomole who occupied the position for 2 terms. These two men are currently in a battle, albeit indirectly. Events leading to the battle were put in place by Outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo when he increased fuel price from N65/ltr to N75/ltr, increased VAT from 5% to 10% and sold off the Port Harcourt Refinery to "people of unknown track record in refining" (As put by NUPENG and PENGASANG) all as part of his "farewell package". These moves proved very unpopular to Nigerians and the NLC not being one to sit back in such times has declared a nationwide strike. The strike became effective today and is to last indefinitely.

President Umar has barely spent a month in office and NLC President Omar is also new in his position. Both have a point to prove and both have tried proving it. Upon being informed about the pending strike, President Umar suspended the 10% VAT and reduced fuel price to N70/ltr. This was not acceptable to the NLC. It was either N65 or an indefinite strike. If President Yar'adua agrees to this, it will show a sign of weakness and might determine a lot of what will happen during his tenure as President. On the other hand, the NLC President also needs to make his mark and show himself strong. Hence the elephants fight, and the grass feels.

At this time, I personally think it would be wise for the NLC to suspend the strike while giving the Federal Government an ultimatum to take the price back to N65. The FG has made an effort and shown a sign of goodwill by reducing the price halfway. The NLC should also back off. Some would however argue that N70 was the intended price by the FG who knowing fully well that the NLC would protest decided to set the price above the desired price so they could "arrive" at N70 after negotiation. This makes sense and might or might not be true. The important thing now is that the NLC has already scored a goal. It's time to sheath their swords and allow Nigerians get back to work.


aloted said...

I thot u were not going to blog about this! Was already moaning on my blog! Let us continue to pray for Naija o!

When are we getting the update on the Night out with Timi??? Sorry I had to leave the gig early but pls I need the 411 on what went down, ok...Tnx!

ababoypart2 said...

I agree with you last paragraph. Our folks easily get bored and this strike may just 'fade' away and lack its desired impact. Suspending it now will make sense..

K said...

Mr Odukoya
The NLC has not achieved their goal as you insinuate. It is unfortunate that we have a government that is seemingly insenstitive to the plight of the common Nigerian. NLC's goal is to get the pump price of PMS reduced to its original price of N65/liter.

You will recall that labour gave the Fed Govt a 14 day ultimatum prior to the strike. However, the govt acted like the matter didnt exist, and only called labour for talks on the 13th day of the ultimatum. Why? Have they begun to take Nigerians for granted? Due to the current cost at N70 or N75/liter, the cost of basic amenities has gone on the high....even down to a pile of tomatoes in the roadside market;the cost of transportation has trippled.

Ever since 1999, this trend has been maintained. From N19 to N22,.....N26......now N70. They say they want to reduce govt subsidy on petroleum products as the money may achieve many more feats that will benefit the average Nigerian. 8 years down the line and we are yet to see or feel the direct impacts of the repeated reduction in subsidy amount.

By the way, was the PPPRA involved in the recent price hike done by Baba? NO! Did the Senate pass the bill on VAT increase? NO! Did the sale of the refineries go via due process?NO!

These are the illegalities that were imposed on Nigerians in recent times....There are two legitimate means by which the TUC & NLC can make their desires known - one is dialogue and the other which is the last resort is a general strike. UNfortunately, the Nig Govt does not understand the meaning of the word ""dialogue" being a discourse between 2 parties-i talk u listen, u talk , i listen....they're so entrenched in the system of military democracy which is essentially a monologue... That is why they have resorted to calling an indefinite strike - it is the only language the government understands!!!

catwalq said...

I wonder what it will take to be able to reduce the price of fuel completely
This cat and mouse game that labour congress plays with government is stale and ineffective.

ogochukwu said...

@ K
was that a comment u posted?or an article on its own...(lol)
@ Tayo
all we need is the divine intervention of God to put a final end to all this strike today strike tomorrow issues.but we know that God will not come down, he will need a man...lets just be praying oh and be shining our eyez..

The Last King Of Scotland said...

mr tayo how u dey? normally i dont talk about politics?(read my blog) but i have to comment here.obj did not do well infact he put the new president in the shit. i feel for the guy cos he looks like a reasonable fellow. how can u increase fuel prices and VAT on the same day. LUDICROUS! then give a 2 day 'holiday' so no one can protest and leave the new guy to tackle the issues. just evil.

obj's administration was a failure for one primary reason despite the successes. POWER. with all the money spent Nigeria is still in dark ages. if yar adua does not sort power out his administration will also be a failure.

Tayo said...

@aloted, I don blog am o! As per the update, I'll put it up soon.
@ababoy, that's true. I hope they achieve their aims before calling off the strike
@k, na wa o. Your comment long pass the post sef. Your points are quite valid. I agree with most of them. The fuel price hike was done in the same dictatorship and autocratic spirit which has always prevailed.

Tayo said...

@Catwalq, I wonder too, and I hope this works.
@Ogochukwu,LOL, yes o. We really do need divine intervention
@TLK, Obasanjo punished Nigerians when he did those two increments. I hope Yar'adua will be able to rectify and correct all the earlier wrongdoings.

divali said...

I totally agree with K, he took the words right out of my mouth.
@ugochukwu, i dont think that was an article, it was just a very well informed comment!
Tayo, surely you are aware that there was a 2 week notice of the strike during which time, not a squeak was heard from the govt?
All the hikes and sale of the refineries did not go through due process and thats a fact
Yaradua reducing the prices to N65 is not a sign of weakness, he has no reason to carry on the policy, if OBj(that idiot) had been from a different party, yaradua would NOT have thot twice to reverse the prices and go on about how insensitive the old govt was.
Finally, why should NLC back down? should there even be a N1 increase? are you willing to pay one kobo more for fuel?We just need to be tough and tough out the strike, we dont need NLC to push us because that is exacttly the same way we'vre refused to hold govt responsible for the lack of light, security,employment and the shitty standard of living.
So,N70 is just not good enough

truth said...

First, what's PPPRA? I don't think I've been away from home that long but the abb. is unfamiliar.

I am going to spend a portion of my day thinking about what other sanity-enforcement strategy NLC can adopt instead of strikes. The strikes just don't cut it anymore for me and other Nigerians I believe.

Tayo said...

@divali, I agree with your points. The FG knew what it had to do to avoid the strike yet they did nothing until the night before the strike. They might well deserve what they are getting then. I was just looking at the plight of the average Nigerian.
@truth, the PPPRA is the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency. They have a website here

Anonymous said...

do u know hat..u guys pary for the country everyday!cos na only prayer!we are BLESSED with OIL and now it has become a CURSE because they are not handling it well..PRAY!