By Chioma Godwin
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has descended on Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State for stating in a viral video that the recent industrial action by Nigerian workers, which grounded economic activities in the state for 3days was bankrolled by the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
In a statement signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, and made available to journalists on Monday 24 May, 2012, NLC said “It is appalling that a self-acclaimed technocrat like Mr. El-Rufai believes that Nigerian workers need financial leverage from
a State Governor to carry out their campaigns.”
The statement in full reads: “The attention of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been drawn to a viral video where the Governor of Kaduna State was said to have alleged that the recent protest by the NLC against the industrial tyranny of the Kaduna State Government under the leadership of Mr. Nasir El-Rufai was sponsored by the Kano State Government. We wish to reject this lie which is nothing but another figment of hallucination by a State Governor whose past time is oppression, suppression and intimidation.
“Since Mr. Nasir El-Rufai sacked thousands of Kaduna State workers, he has blamed virtually everyone for his industrial malfeasance. First, while denying that he sacked any worker, the Governor accused and blamed the Nigeria LabourCongress for making its case based on a false document. In the same breath, the Governor affirmed that he is on a mission of right sizing and down sizing the Kaduna State Public Service.
“In recent videos, Mr. El-Rufai has blamed the Federal Government for not rallying to his support during the protest by workers. When that failed to gain traction, El-Rufai blamed his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors Forum. Now, he has narrowed his blame arrow on the Kano State Governor, alleging that it was HE Dr. Umar Ganduje who provided NLC with the funds to prosecute our last peaceful protest in Kaduna State. This is not unexpected of someone in perpetual hallucination.
“Talking of sponsorship, the Kaduna State Governor might just be looking at himself in the mirror. Till date, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai has not refuted the charge that he was the one who masterminded the sponsorship of hooligans to attack a peaceful protest by workers, injuring and maiming many workers in the process.
“Mr. Nasir El-Rufai is obviously still rattled that workers were able to re-organize themselves, confronted his armed thugs and arrested about twenty of them who were handed over to the Nigeria Police.
“It is appalling that a self-acclaimed technocrat like Mr. El-Rufai believes that Nigerian workers need financial leverage from a State Governor to carry out their campaigns. This exposes the condescending and arrogant mindset of Mr. Nasir El-Rufai on fellow Nigerians especially workers. With this kind of attitude, we are not surprised that the Kaduna State Governor acutely mismanaged a pure case of industrial dispute and chose the path of confrontation when consultation and consensus building would have been nobler and cost effective. To blame everyone for being El-Rufai is taking official malfeasance to unprecedented heights. This is not how to be a State Governor!
“Well, we have no business teaching public morals to a man who believes he knows more than everyone else. But we have a duty to hold the Kaduna State Governor to account over the sponsorship of hoodlums to attack peaceful protesters and arrest the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress. This fact is buttressed by his earlier statements placing a bounty on the heads of the leaders of the NLC.
“We wish to posit that the day any harm is done to any leader of the NLC or any worker or to any union property in Kaduna State, Nigerian workers will withdraw their services without any further notice.
“We also wish to urge the Nigeria Police Force and other security agents to take note of the fresh threats by Mr. Nasir El-Rufai against Nigerian workers. We call on the security agents to discharge their duties and interrogate the Kaduna State Governor over his recent criminal actions. His immunity only protects him fromcriminal prosecution while in office and not against criminal investigation and interrogation.
“The focus of the Nigeria Labour Congress remains the pursuit of justice and dignity for Nigerian workers, the poor and the downtrodden.”