Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned Bayo Onanuga, media aide to President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to desist from making inciting comments against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and creating problems for labour and the incoming government.
TUC gave the warning in a statement, yesterday, by its National President, Festus Osifo and Secretary General, Nuhu Toro.
The warning followed Onanuga’s recent claime that “the NLC and TUC were already heavily partisan and therefore have lost all moral rights to be a judge in the post-election legal fights.
“Looking at the future, I don’t even know how the NLC and TUC can now claim to represent all Nigerian workers having fully embraced the Labour Party.”
His comments did not sit well with the leadership of the TUC, which in its response accused Onanuga of playing the role of a fifth columnist by seeking to manufacture problems for the President-elect, where none exists.
It also declared that Nigerian workers and their two labour centres, had every right to be politically partisan to safeguard their collective interests.
“This is our basic human right. So, we do not view this either as an accusation or insult, rather it is the expression of an uninformed mind.”
Osifo emphasised that neither TUC nor NLC could possibly act as a judge in post-election legal fights as such battles are always done in courts of competent jurisdiction.
“The issue is not about the TUC and NLC, having fully embraced Labour Party as Onuga cries. The fact is that we created the Labour Party, in other words, the party is a child of the labour movement.”
Osifo said Tinubu had been declared the President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in line with the country’s laws and constitution and that this remains so unless otherwise decided by the courts.
“Therefore, his spokespersons like Onanuga needed to move from the electoral gear to a post-election one. We know that the battle for offices in the in-coming Tinubu administration is going on and is intense, but we advise the likes of Onanuga to leave the TUC and NLC out of such battles. The TUC wishes to repeat that Tinubu now has the whole country as his constituency and the least those who claim to be his sidekick should do, is not to manufacture problems for him before and after he is sworn into office.”
Osifo likened the creation of Labour Party as a child of the labour movement to democracies in other countries noting that the workers under the aegis of their respective trade unions had every right to throw their weight behind political parties of their choice.
“This fact that labour created the Labour Party does not mean the party must win all elections. Indeed, it has won some and lost some. So Onanuga challenging the legitimacy of the TUC and NLC to adequately represent Nigerian workers because they are identified with the Labour Party, does not make any sense and we do not think he is faithfully representing the position of the President-elect.”