The country’s atmosphere is highly charged presently for an obvious reason, being the last minute rush by the different political parties to woo the Nigerian electorate to vote for the election or re-election of their candidates to different positions.
Again, since the politicking kicked off and reached its climax, the politicians in their desperate bid have been crisscrossing the six geo-political zones in the country promising the electorate heaven and earth if elected.
The campaigns did not exempt the various sectors of the government where the civil servants are also not left out of the game with them belonging to different political parties of their choice for different reasons.
Prior to now, most of the politicians hardly considered the importance of the workers in the various government parastatals/agencies vis-a-vis their voting powers in view of their numbers as the politicians often chose to neglect them. Reverse has now been the case as the workers have realised the power they carry.
In the country’s aviation sector, the awareness has never been this high until the former workers of Nigeria Airways changed the game in the sector through the rally they held at the Lagos airport last week to appreciate the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for paying 50 per cent of their final entitlements, even as he promised to pay the balance later in the year.
While the former workers have the rights to pitch their tents with whoever they think will be fair to them, there is however the need for other workers still in service in the various agencies and the entire sector, including those working in the airlines and ground handling companies to put the interest of the sector at heart before making their choice.
The need to be objective with their votes becomes pertinent considering the present status of the sector which requires better priority from government.
The workers, through the aviation unions, should be able to seek audience with the key presidential candidates on what the sector stands to gain if voted for. In other words, the candidates should be able to tell the workers in clear terms how he/she intends to help transform the sector if voted into power.
The decision of the former workers of the liquidated Nigeria Airways to express their desire about the Presidential election coming up in two days’ time should serve as an eye opener to aviation workers through their unions on how to know candidates who are really sincere with the sector.
Presently, as no one except God knows who the next President is until after February 16, one sure thing is that someone must definitely emerge. But what should be uppermost in the minds of workers in the sector should be who to vote for that will better the lot of the sector.
On the candidates’ side, they should learn from the case of the former Nigeria Airways workers whose actions must have opened eyes of most workers in the sector on how to defend their votes during election times.
From the experience of the former Airways workers, am sure the presidential candidates of the parties must have got the message that Nigerians are getting wiser every day about holding leaders accountable to their electoral promises.
Workers in the aviation sector, as led by their unions, are the most intelligent set of Nigerians; maybe, based on the global standard of the sector.Hence, they are ever ready to give their votes to any presidential candidate that will make the sector friendly.
Though the aviation sector is not doing badly. But many issues calling for assistance from whoever emerges as the next president include: the lopsided air service agreements, the unlimited multiple entry points granted the foreign carriers, the unjust treatment being meted to Nigerian airlines in other countries, the expensive aviation fuel, multiple taxes to unstable foreign exchange and more.
The sector deserves a President ,who when he is elected, will look into all these lingering issues which have made the environment so unfriendly to business in the aviation sector.
Therefore, as the aviation workers join other Nigerians to exercise their rights on Saturday, the interest of the sector should determine who to vote for as the sector requires friendly environment devoid of unnecessary pressure and injustice, at least in the next four years.