MON, JUN 29 2020-theG&BJournal- TWO time former Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and currently Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu, has called for an urgent “quality control” of the country’s democratic process through what he called a strategic and systematic inculcation of “national ethics of Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-reliance and Patriotism as envisaged by Chapter 11 of the 1999 constitution dealing with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.
Addressing the media in Kaduna on Sunday, Aremu who was also the Labour Party (LP) Gubernatorial candidate in Kwara state during the 2019 elections, hailed as “a mark of statesmanship” the recent intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari in steering the ruling party leadership from what he called “mutually destructive brinkmanship” and “imminent“ politicide” which he defined as additive acrimony and deafening collapse of compromise, comradeship and cooperation” .
Against the background of recent mutual suspensions, serial protests at APC secretariat and eventual defection of Governor Godwin of Edo state from APC to PDP, President Buhari last Tuesday presided over an emergency NEC of the party during which he advised members of the party to bury hatchet, warning that “mutating disagreements have dire consequences and could lead to party self destruction.”
The President added further that the party’s gains could be reversed as conflicts often overshadow the primary objective of service to the people and urged members to refocus on “the larger picture and place more emphasis on uniting the party”.
The APC NEC eventually approved the immediate discontinuation of all pending litigation involving the party and its members; ratified the primary election conducted in Edo State; dissolved the current National Working Committee, and appointed a Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning committee for the party, with the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, as Caretaker National Chairman, and Senator John Akpanudoedehe as designated Caretaker National Secretary.
Comrade Aremu observed that a crisis within a ruling party must be of grave concern because of what he perceived as its adverse implications for good governance adding “that a ruling party in crisis means actually a nation in “governance haemorrhage”. He recalled that the internal crisis which rocked the ruling PDP created an atmosphere for deepening security challenge, the worst expression being the kidnapping of chibok girls in 2014 by Boko Haram militants, worsened corrupt practices and reversal of economic growth of earlier years from which he observed Nigeria had not yet recovered.
“President Buhari has not just saved his party from self destruct (his words!) but has commendably inadvertently refocused the attention of all Nigerians to the current challenges of governance the worst manifestation being the huge spikes in COVID:19 infection and fatality rates, ongoing commendable Presidential Task force interventions and the newly announced complementary Economic Sustainability agenda, he said.
Answering a question on the perceived failures of Adams Oshiomhole in politics as failure of organized labour in politics, comrade Aremu said on the contrary the challenges facing Oshimhole shows that democracy is too important to be left to any group whether, business men, contractors, lawyers or ex-military men, trade unionists or comrades. Democracy is about inclusion, contestation and those who win and ask for equity must come with democratic clean hands, failing which they face the consequences regardless of what they are called comrades or conmen.
Aremu said the he was among the earlier supporters of Oshiomhole as the second Chairman of the ruling APC in the belief that as a former Union organizer, bargainers, negotiator and statesman, globally adjudged two term successful Edo Governor, with rich background in art of consultation, democracy, team work, persuasion would reinvent APC. However he said progressive forces are however saddened that Oshiomole would preside over a ruling party the trademarks of which are “whimsical recourse to extra- constitutional legal pursuits with conflicting judgements, not justice, commercialization of nominations and candidatures, routing candidates through sensational findings on certifications even when Supreme Court had pronounced on the stupidity of papers fetish, all combine to discredit the political class. There is so much whispers that all politicians are corrupt without credibility, scandalously that himself is a new-Godfather keeping elected legislators in Abuja instead of encouraging them to play politics at home”, he lamented.
Comrade Aremu insisted that “Nigeria and Africa need more tested trade unionists and non-state civil society actors in governance to uplift Africa from underdevelopment and inequality into prosperity and equity, citing , South Africa which elected Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, as the new South Africa President having also won as the Deputy President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the oldest political movement in Africa.)! He also recalled that great pioneer unionists like late Michael Imoudu and Wahab Goodluck were active partisans who fought for independence and democracy with great politicians like Nnamdi Azikwe in NCNC.
He said it was gratifying that immediate-past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has accepted the decision of the party’s National Executive Committee that dissolved the rowdy clumsy National Working Committee which he chaired and he even told his lawyers to withdraw all suits in court in obedience to the appeal of the President that all contending parties within the party withdraw their cases from the court. He said it was time for a bipartisan governance to fight the scourge of COVID: 19, damn the Virus and ensure sustainable livelihoods through the new sustainability plan.