Home News Ajaero and his  battles

Ajaero and his  battles

NLC President, Joe Ajaero
NLC President, Joe Ajaero
He is as diminutive as his former boss and predecessor in the Labour movement, Adams Oshiomole ,now a Senator of the Federal Republic.
However, he has his drawbacks.  It is not only in the lack of courage  and power of intellect and introspection but the  attitude and capacity to mobilize organized Labour to  confront governments in power deploying resources both human and material.
Reasons his various attempts to call out workers during President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime who ironically was helped into office by grassroot people’s mobilisers failed.
  Though, he lacks the eloquency of the man from Edo who drew as much attention as any other Labour leader before him, strangely  he  has the capacity to contrive crisis or put himself in the centre of any to gain traction and attention of the larger public without necessarily been effective as experience in the past few years have shown.
Before the advent of this administration, little is heard of the  Ajaero – led national executive except to blew trumpet and crave relevance but never bites.
Even when opportunity presented itself during the seizure of citizens money by the heartless regime of Godwin Emefiele ,the infamous Central Bank  of Nigeria, CBN, Governor.
One would’ve expected that, that was the best time the Ajaero – led Executive had more reasons to bite but  perhaps his apparent ‘unholy’ alliance with some of the contending political parties comfortable with Emefieles anti- people policy was his undoing.
Rather than seize the momentum and public confidence and credibility, he choose to wring his hand in mute passivity.
But unlike Oshiomole who transisted from leading the NLC to join a political party and eventually become a national chairman, it is doubtful whether Ajaero had such luxury  of time, chance and courage to take the plunge.
His obvious partisanship reflected in his romance with Labour Party, LP an allegation and indeed public perception  he is still battling to shred of.
First, since the emergent of this government, twice he had attempted a strike and twice the idea got ambushed.
As reasonable as the portent strike appears occasioned by the sudden subsidy removal it could not bite…Labour only carried along pockets of affiliates .
Again, it contemplated another strike when patience ran out by workers for palliatives it didn’t work.
It got ambushed both by the public sympathy for the new regime  and  the  capacity of the new government led by those who knew how to deal with Aluta crowd.
Tinubu, with a history of crowd funding and struggles which dated back to the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO days, ambushed Labour midway by releasing a non- negotiated salary bonus with a six months review programme.
Yes, Ajaero is possibly as close to the ground as Oshiomhole and posses relative power of oratory similar to his predecessor, it is becoming clear by the day that he lacks the charisma of Oshomhole.
It is also as clear as crystal ball, his lack of courage to take the bold move to transmit to a political platform of his choice  probably with eye on the Labour platform.
While it remains debatable if Ajaero is not working in cahout with Labour Party (LP), which coincidentally adopts labour appellation and ‘ideology’ but the fact that it had more of political merchants inside who simply adopt the platform to ascend to power remains it’s albatross.
It remains to be seen if LP gets to power it could  follow the people- oriented ideological tenets of the party given the various conflicting tendencies in it’s fold.
With Ajaeros  ‘adopted’ party loss at the polls last February and the rather ‘unconcerned’ and bold way the new government removed fuel subsidy, it is clear Ajaero had an opportunity to reposition himself at least if not for self gain but to make Congress force the government to respect it by negotiating with it.
But with the strategic way the Bola Tinubu administration has handled the subsidy crisis by meeting Labour half -way with salary bonus with a window for more review in six months, Ajaero definitely need another reason and excuse to hold up the government.
Besides, he and his team has to accept that failure of previous public opposition against the unpopular policies of the  Buharis regime is attributable to the fact that those who helped it to power are masters of the game in public mobilisation.
They found themselves in government and pulled all necessary strings to abort open public demonstration against it that could’ve short-lived the regime.
Now that those leaders are themselves in power, Ajaero and his team need more of strategies and tactics to galvanise public against the masters of the game even under inclement whether as we are in today.
This is a government  not ready to ‘tolerate’ industrial or students unrest but poised to meet such moves either by strategic ambushing or policy review to reduce civil opposition.
It has done it with ASUU,NARD and even the restless NANS.
However, Ajaeros misdadventure in Owerri last week-his state of origin, where he called out reluctant workers to embark on a protest against a sitting government few weeks to an election has sort of ‘remove’ cloak of partisanship from him moreso when his favourite LP is a serious contender in the election.
Had the  workers Ajaero and his team wanted to coerce into strike action been persuaded by his motive, maybe the story would have been different.
He would’ve successfully mobilised them without resort to coercion which invited law enforcement agents and subsequent face -off.
Today, with physical bruises and emotional stress and near fatal clash with  political thugs and the Police, Ajaero and his team is now on the defensive.
A defensive prompted by suspicions and claims by ruling government that Ajaeros coming to Owerri is purely to sway votes for Labour.
What is more, as to states culpability in the attack, Governor Hope  Uzodimma merely replied in a terse message that his government does not interfere in Labour matters in the state.
Again, while the Imo State Police Command which claimed ignorance of being culpable in the  attack on Ajaero and team may not be entirely free of such precipitate action, the tendency of political thugs sponsored by the ruling party in the state is not far-fetched.
 In our clime,  absence of sponsored non- state actors in power struggle is an abberation.
Probably, having seen the likely non-partisan stance of the police, hiring thugs to defend workers not ready to join Ajaero may not be out of the way of the party and powers in government.
Except the police is under intense pressure, nothing serious may come out of the fracas except limited sympathy for Ajaero and his team.
But then, the police claim that it intervened to enforce a ruling outlawing strike action, could be enough ground for Ajaero to battle two forces not on its side.. the reluctant workers and unseen supporters and forces represented by thugs who are striving to protect their ‘pot of soup.’
In whatever way the issue is  resolved, Ajaero has at least succeeded in arousing and attracting public sympathy and attention.
But after his recuperation, will Ajaero be able to sustain his image and attract much sympathy and possess enough courage to transmute into a full-blown politician.
 It is doubtful whether he can wash himself clean from the tag of partisanship while at the helm in LP having surreptitiously drafted the NLC into Peter Obis faction of the LP.
In obvious reference to the accusation by Imo state government that Ajaero and his band came to Imo to interfere in it’s local politics, deputy national chairman of NLC, Adeyanju Adewale called for the prosecution of Imo State Police Commissioner,   Mohammed Barde, the Police Area Commander who took instructions from the Commissioner and Nwaneri Chinasa ,Special Assistant to Imo governor, Hope Uzodimma  for culpability in  the attack on Ajaero.
It is doubtful whether such can have much impact in the state already in high pitch fever for the election.
 If the incumbent governor, Uzodimma of the ruling All Peoples Congress, APC returns to power, he will have to engage NLC state branch for peaceful and cordial relationship during his second term tenure and also take steps to decimate the state chapter of LP .
In this instance, Ajaero may have more job on his hands.
With the sympathy cry by the NLC leader for Ajaeros treatment overseas for injury to his eyes, Labour strident calls for stoppage of overseas treatment for public office holders may be hypocritical after all.
These are challenging times for the Labour and it’s leadership.