The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other left-leaning members of the Labour Party (LP) have been challenged by the All Progressive Congress Presidential Campaign Council to be transparent about the position of their flagbearer, Peter Obi, who has pledged to end fuel subsidies if elected president in 2023.
Festus Keyamo (SAN), the minister of state for labor and employment, recalled in a statement on Saturday the several occasions and interviews in which the previous governor of Anambra State promised to end fuel subsidies and addressed important issues to the NLC.
Keyamo questioned NLC about whether or not Obi had agreed to back down on the withdrawal of fuel subsidies as the basis for galvanizing support for him.
Keyamo contends that if there was no debate of gasoline subsidies, it would be irresponsible for the NLC to support a candidate without thoroughly questioning him about his ideas, as they could have an impact on Nigerian workers and the general populace.
He continued by saying that Nigerians should question the NLC about their motivations for endorsing LP and Obi.
The statement read: “We note that the leadership of the organized labour under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday, September 13, 2022, at a national retreat of the Labour Party in Abuja, promised to mobilise its members across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria to ensure victory for Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, in next year’s presidential election.
“We also note that in several interviews he granted in the last few months and weeks, Mr. Peter Obi has vowed to totally remove subsidy on petrol if elected President. We also note NLC’s long-standing opposition to total removal of fuel subsidy. Other left-leaning supporters of the Labour Party were also present at the event to cheer Mr. Peter Obi.
“Consequently, the following questions are urgently begging for answers by the leadership of the NLC:
“1. Before adopting Mr. Peter Obi as its candidate, did the leadership of the NLC have a discussion with him on the issue of removal of fuel subsidy?
“2. If they did have that discussion, did Mr. Peter Obi agree to back down on the issue of subsidy removal? Was that a basis for supporting him? If he did not back down on the issue, did organised Labour agree with him?
“3. If no such discussion held, does it mean the leadership of the NLC now fully supports the removal of fuel subsidy? Or will that not be reckless of the NLC to adopt a candidate without thoroughly interrogating the candidate on his policies as they affect the Nigerian workers or the masses? The NLC must make a public statement and come clean on this.
“4. If the excuse is that Mr. Peter Obi has said that the money saved will be used in other critical areas of the economy, how is that different from what Buhari’s Government is also saying?
“These questions have become necessary because Nigerians deserve to know whether organised Labour’s adopted party, which is the Labour Party, supports and promotes a policy that the leadership of Labour opposes in another breath when it is adopted by the government of the day. They cannot be blowing hot and cold.
“As our Council stands for issue-based campaigns, we call on all members of the 4th Estate of the Realm not to sweep this point under the carpet and to thoroughly interrogate the NLC and the Labour Party on the one hand; and the seemingly right-leaning supporters of the Labour Party and Mr. Peter Obi on the other, on this issue so that they will come clean before Nigerians.”
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