Sadism Of Nigeria’s Political Class And Endless Suffering Of The Masses

By Frank Oshanugor

There is already news in town about the declaration of indefinite nationwide strike beginning on Monday June 3, 2024 by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the inability of government to agree with them on the much debated minimum wage proposal.

Workers in Nigeria represented by the NLC and the TUC have over the years been the object of ridicule and regrettably, the ridiculous state has been further worsened by the Bola Tinubu administration which in all honesty does not mean well for the Nigerian masses.

If for anything, the administration from inception did not pretend to have the interest of Nigerian masses at heart, otherwise the removal of fuel subsidy and the subsequent increase in prizes of commodities should have been a serious source of worry to President Tinubu and his entire administration.

The administration in making mockery of the entire situation found it very convenient and easy to buy SUV worth about $150,000 for each National Assembly lawmaker few months into office. Since then, more profligacy in the governance space has been the order of the day. What could be more sadistic than this, at a time Tinubu and his cheer leaders are telling Nigerians to bear with them, that the hardship of the present time is temporary.

If the $150,000 for one SUV is applied into payment of salaries, it can conveniently pay the salaries of over 50 Nigerian middle level workers in a year at no less than N150,000 per month. The question is, what economic value does a single lawmaker contribute to the national income that qualifies him to receive in a single month what a university professor receives in two years or more.

If members of the political class currently in charge of governance (executive and legislative) at the Federal level in particular are God fearing and mean well for the people of Nigeria, why would they not make the interest of Nigerian masses a priority than pandering unashamedly to their own selfish ambitions?

How do we explain a scenario where the National Assembly lawmakers many of whom have amassed so much wealth in previous political offices before now, like the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, continue to treat other less privileged citizens as people of no value.

When it comes to the fixing of outrageous allowances and budget padding aimed at primitively enriching themselves, the National Assembly lawmakers do not waste time to agree, but just imagine the politics same people have brought to bear on the minimum wage issue.

I see our political class particularly many of those in corridors of power as people with little conscience. Each National Assembly lawmaker goes home monthly with no less than than N10million monthly but they do not see any justification in the least worker in Nigeria earning anything above N60,000 per month when all of us are buying from the same market.

After one year in office, the Tinubu administration which assured Nigerians by this time last year, that at least one of Nigeria’s moribund refineries would be fixed and functional before end of 2023 is still importing refined petroleum products such that Nigerians now live at the mercy of marketers. This is laughable.

In most places in Nigeria today, a litre of fuel sells for over N700 as against the official pump prize of N568 following the removal of subsidy. Due to this fluctuation in fuel prize, every other sector has regrettably been affected such that the average worker’s monthly salary has been wiped off by associated expenses that come with higher prizes. Yet, those in government who caused the economic hiccup are beating their chest and telling us that our solution to the humongous economic problem currently in the country, is in reverting to the old National Anthem as if the rejected anthem is responsible for the monumental corruption at every level of government.

It is regrettable that the Nigeria state has literarily been reduced to ‘animal kingdom’ where the strong would oppress the weak and go scot- free unchallenged. The political class act with impunity and sadism against the masses who, at the slightest opposition are destroyed with state apparatus.

The Nigerian political class in spite of all the pretences to the promotion of democracy, constitute the greatest threat to the rule of law, as they ignobly use the security agencies to suppress popular wishes of the people. The rigging of 2023 presidential election serves as a good example.

As we speak today, the nation’s security agencies including the judiciary cannot claim to be independent in their operational decisions. Their leaderships have been largely compromised to such extent that it would always be easy to predict what happens next.

Dysfunctionality is now the hallmark of many institutions of the state as they have subtly abdicated their statutory roles in attempt to do the bidding of the political class. It is most unfortunate.

As Nigerians eagerly await the commencement of the nationwide strike, people like me can hazardously guess that the strike would be thwarted by the same political class who has everything evil to make Nigeria crawl rather than walk or run.

However, if NLC and TUC succeed in this arduous task of pulling the Tinubu administration to pay the minimum wage proposed by the workers’ representatives, everyone would remain grateful to them. Let us hope that the political class does not crush them with the coercive instruments of the state.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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