THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has advised members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) to stop parading themselves as saints.
President of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, said “if PACAC members feel that being appointed into the committee confers on them the status of sainthood, we beg to differ.”
A member of the committee, Professor Femi Odekunle, had stated that the labour leaders were corrupt, compromised, not trustworthy and could not protest against acts of corruption.
The executive secretary of the committee, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, had also said the fact that unions did not protest against corruption at the National Assembly and state assemblies while governors award themselves sickening pensions while workers go without pay showed that unions were collaborators or beneficiaries of these acts of corruption.
Reacting, the Labour leader said “we at the NLC consider this posture by the committee to be an unnecessary display of arrogance and self-righteousness, which is most unfortunate.
“Due to our respect for his record of support for popular struggles before he took the current appointment as chairman of the advisory committee, we had refrained from responding to an earlier unwarranted attack on organised Labour by Professor (Itse) Sagay.
“For Professor Odekunle, we know his records from ABU Zaria. It appears his recent trademark is his penchant for flippant and unguarded attacks against the organised Labour to draw attention of people in authority for political appointment.
“The secretary of the advisory committee, Professor Bolaji Owasanonye, in his comments, exhibited ignorance of our struggles against bad governance and corruption, which was shocking.”
Wabba posited that Labour was in the forefront of supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign.
“We organised a nationwide anti-corruption rally earlier in the life of the administration and wrote President Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly to strengthen the advisory committee so that it could deliver on its mandate.
“We likened the significance of the committee to that of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua setting up of the Electoral Reform Committee, which was also the first major committee of his Presidency.
“Our actions were informed by our conviction that corruption was at the heart of our underdevelopment as a nation. This informed our call for capital punishment for some category of graft during our protest, a call that many of our civil society allies and sections of the NBA were uncomfortable with,” he said.
According to Wabba, “the NLC wonders how anyone who has been following events in the country can accuse us of doing nothing when our political elite in the states failed to pay workers’ salaries and fix for themselves outrageous pensions.
“At the last count, two workers of Nasarawa State government were killed when they accompanied the NLC leadership to discuss with the state government on its arbitrary cuts in, and non-payment of wages.”