Abuja - The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday
in Abuja pledged to strengthen and develop stronger ties between
organised labour and civil society organisations in the country.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said this at a colloquium organised by the NLC and the Civil Society for the late Emma Ezeazu
The late Ezeazu, pro-democracy activist and former General Secretary
of the Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), died on May 18 at the age
of 52 years, after a brief illness.
The colloquium was entitled, "Comrade Emma Ezeazu and Students and Popular Democratic Struggle in Nigeria."
Wabba said the partnership was imperative so as to be more responsive
to the yearnings of the vast majority of poor and hardworking
"After 16 years of continuous democratic practice, are we happy with the end result of our democracy?"
"What have been the concrete benefits of this democratic
dispensation that Comrade Ezeazu and other patriots fought the military
to bring about? What are the concrete benefits to the citizens of this
"It has been a tale of woes, a tale of unmitigated dashing of our hopes that democracy will improve our material well-being."
"A tale of lost opportunities; a tale of monumental corruption at
all levels of our national life perpetuated by our political elite and
their collaborators in both public and private sectors."
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"It has become so bad that despite the huge revenue this country had
earned from sale of crude oil over the years, some workers' salaries
are not paid."
"We are in a stage where a number of states are unable to pay workers' salaries for several months, among others," he said.
He said that mutual trust needed to be developed, enhanced and
sustained between the two organisations through partnership, in order to
fight the rot in the system.
Wabba said the memorial colloquium organised in honour of Ezeazu
called for reflection as he lived in the vanguard role of the working
class in societal development.
The NLC President described the late Ezeazu as an "outstanding
patriot among the finest of his generation, who had plenty of passion
and idealism for an egalitarian Nigerian society"
He noted that the late Ezeazu, as President of the National
Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), struggled to forge a close
working relationship between the students' body and NLC in 1984.
"We pledge our commitment to rebuilding the working relationship
that had existed between the apex student body in this country and
"As a leadership, we re-dedicate ourselves to fighting for the full
emancipation of the working people of this country," Wabba said.
In his remark, Prof. Asisi Asobie, the Chairman of the occasion,
described the late Ezeazu as a selfless and courageous man who fought
for the oppressed.
"We feel sad that he died at this point in time when the country
needed him greatly; he was one of those that fought for democracy for
"He will never be forgotten in a hurry as he had laid a good
foundations as a former president of National Association of Nigeria
Students, one of the leading voices in the civil society circle,
politics, among others," he said.
Asobie called on Nigerians to emulate the lives and times of the late
Ezeazu, who championed the cause of working class and the oppressed.
Also, John Odah, the Chairman, Memorial Committee, described the late Ezeazu as a man who was committed to social justice.
"He lived his life fighting for the poor," he added.
Others present at the occasion were the current and former presidents
of NANS, civil society groups, former colleagues and Femi Falana
(SAN), among others.