By Bala Ibrahim.
Going by the trend of events, all is set for a total showdown, between the Kaduna state government and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. The state chapter of the NLC had last week issued notice of a warning strike, commencing on Monday, 17/05/21, to protest the sacking of workers by the state government. However, in a rapid response, the Kaduna state government warned civil servants against participating in the strike, accusing the NLC of plotting to cause violence in the state.
Both sides have a reason or reasons to back their stands, but every position must be weighed on the scale of logic and rational reasoning. That is the best way of giving validity to the sense, or nonsense of the saga. While the governor must be wary of acting in excess, the NLC must also not hide under the cover of trade union laws to engage in irrationality or irresponsibility.
To start with, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai is a politician, who campaigned to the people trough the manifesto of the APC, with promises that eventually led to his emergence as the elected governor of Kaduna state. Having won the confidence of the electorate, he has a duty, to fulfil the promises he made to them.
In the pursuit of the fulfilment of such promises, he can behave as a Good man, or a Great man, both which can still qualify him as a Gentleman.
Depending on interest, people that thrive to meet up to agreements, always carry a certain tag. They may be called arrogant, mini god, rude, or being unpleasantly proud.
But in reality, they are people with a focussed mind that treats everyone with respect, until they give him a reason not to. From the minute you give them a reason to withdraw that respect, the two of you are likely to be at daggers drawn.
Now those who want to take advantage of situations, particularly those that may be benefitting directly or indirectly from the lop-sidedness that is billed for correction, would be quick to capitalize on sentiments like failure to treat people with kindness, humility, grace and similar slops.
But giving respect and honouring an agreement are not the same. And I think, in line with the policy of a Gentleman, El-Rufai had chosen to be a great man, instead of being a good man.
According to Robert Green, “a great man does not seek applause or place; he seeks for truth; he seeks the road to happiness, and what he ascertains, he gives to others.”
On the other hand, in it’s determination to deal with the stubbornness of El-Rufai, the NLC has mobilized beyond the ordinary, so that the strike would not only be total and complete, but paralysing to the nerves of the governor. To give teeth and muzzle to the show, the power sector, being the artery of the economy, has since commenced action.
According to a circular, signed by Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Head, Corporate Communication of the Kaduna Electric, customers should be ready to bear the consequences of power interruptions.
The circular reads: POWER FAILURE DUE TO NLC’s INDUSTRIAL ACTION.
“The Management of Kaduna Electric regrets to inform its customers in Kaduna State that the service interruption currently being experienced in the State is as a result of the industrial action embarked upon by the NLC.
In compliance with the NLC directive, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN has knocked off all our 33KV lines in Kaduna State.
Consequently, we are appealing to all communities, security agencies and vigilante groups to be vigilant so that men of underworld will not cash in on the situation to vandalise power supply installations. Any suspicious movement around distribution sub-stations (transformers) should be reported to the relevant security agency.
We have the collective responsibility to protect these critical national assets in our neighbourhood.
We once again appeal to both parties in the dispute to strive at an amicable resolution for normalcy to return.”
I don’t see any sign of amicable resolution between the parties involved, because the issue at hand is that of ego versus credibility.
While the government had warned workers not to embark on the strike, the Kaduna state chapter of the NLC is instructing the workers to act in the reverse. In a press statement issued by Comrade Christiana Bawa, the state secretary of the NLC, he said, “Since the history of Nigeria there’s no government that disengaged workers like the present government of Governor Nasir Elrufai. This is the time to tell the world that Kaduna State government is anti-workers and want to destroy the civil service in the name of reform.”
But the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mallam Jafaru Sani, was equally fast with a response, viz: “This government did not campaign on a platform of tired populism and it was not elected to practice timidity as public policy.”
With such a position, the vilification of El-Rufai is only certain to continue, but I doubt if he would bother to bulge. Edgar Allen Poe said, “To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.”
Much as I don’t support the idea of putting innocent people into distress, I also don’t support the idea of blackmailing people who have the courage to make correction. And in Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who is carrying a badge of valour, I see one. A philosopher, whose name I cant remember said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, including the opportunity to make a good omelette.
And to make any omelette, you have to break eggs.