Tinubu, Makinde: 2 different genres of leaders
Events in Nigeria in the last three days have shown difference in leadership makeup of the duo of President Bola Tinubu and Governor Seyi Makinde (of Oyo state).
The two helmsmen though operating at different levels and stages faced protest actions orchestrated by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates over hardships activated by the removal of fuel subsidy.
The workers vented their anger demanding the harsh effects of the abrogation of fuel subsidy which forced price of petrol to go up by as high as 300% be mitigated forthwith.
The protesting workers in Oyo state joined by members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) began their strike two days earlier with a blockade of the entrance to the Government Secretariat. They demanded they be addressed by the governor, Seyi Makinde, noting his showing up before them to talk to them was the only thing that could assuage their contemptuous feelings. But the governor had no time for such. A big man, he dispatched aides after aides but these were turned away one after the other pelted with boos and sachet water.
Nonetheless, the governor did not accede to the workers’ demand. He was recalcitrant to the end, he did not come around to address them.
It was even later known that in the middle of the crisis he jetted out with President Tinubu to Benin Republic to join in the celebration of the 63rd Independence anniversary of Nigeria’s West African neighbour.
Contrarily, Tinubu, the moment he touched down from Benin invited the labour leaders to a parley. He was successful as in less than forty minutes convinced the labour leaders to break-off the protest/strike action.
In Oyo state, it was on the third day the Commissioner of Information and Orientation, the elderly Prince Dotun Oyelade, issued a press statement chastising the workers for pockets of violence that ensued as there was report of attack on some civil servants who ignored the protest. Also, the statement pontificated about the administration’s prioritization of workers’ welfare in the past.
Without addressing any of the grievances raised such as palliative measures, new minimum wage, review of pensioners’ allowance, six months salary deductions, payment of leave bonuses, promotion etc, the statement wore to a dreary conclusion, failing woefully to stir hope.
“The statement further said that owing two months (salary) deductions should not attract extreme reactions, when workers themselves know that other states, with larger funds are struggling to imitate Oyo State,” the statement by the state government was redolent with such blustering quips.
Two genres of leaders indeed.