As the nation, marks the 18th anniversary of return to civil rule, organized labour has vowed to resist any non-democratic military intervention in the country’s democratic process. At the 50th lecture marking the 50 years of existence of Kwara State organized by stakeholders in Ilorin at the weekend, Comrade Issa Aremu, mni, a NEC Member, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Vice President, IndustriALL Global Union said “NEVER again should unelected gunmen rule Nigeria”. According to him the underdevelopment of most states in particular Kwara state in the past 50 years was attributable to frequency of governors, especially military governors which engendered instability in policy and undermined the state’s development. He said most military governors between 1985 and 1999 actually underdeveloped Kwara State, pointing out that out of the 19 governors that have ruled the state, 13 are military, while 6 are democratically elected. He said at an average of two-year tenure per Governor, frequency of “unaccountable military administrators actually underdeveloped the states and Nigeria”.

Comrade Aremu noted that regardless of the frustrations with the present democratic process, the challenge is to deepen democracy not to doubt it. He said it is the “insufficient democracy” and lack of accountability that is responsible for the recent rot, corruption, de-industrialization mass unemployment and mass poverty. He commended the military for defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria and curbing terror gangs like Boko Haram saying that “security is the job military is cultivated for”. He condemned some present civilian governors and legislators who he said “lord it over their people like the discredited military administrators of the recent past”, adding that the woes of Nigeria started with the coup of 1966 after which successful military leaders “pillaged” the country.

Citing the recent OXFARM report on growing inequality between the few rich and millions poor, Comrade Aremu suggested “de-personalization of Nigeria’s commonwealth” and enforced accountability failing which the citizens should use their votes to sack such leaders. He said democracy should not be seen as a passing “fad” with periodic intervention of misguided “gun men” but a desirable and sustainable system of electing and appointing those that would govern Nigeria. The NEC member of NLC observed that “…as the country prepares for another election, what Kwara and Nigeria need is good and better governance NOT another candidates who are already in one way or the other part of the present mess”.

The labour leader calls for “active citizenship” that “must assert themselves to demand accountability from elected and appointed public officials.”

Comrade Issa Aremu, mni

Filed in: Press release

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