As the nation celebrates Democracy Day on Tuesday (Today), the Nigeria Labour Congress has said the democratic dispensation has served only the interest of the political class and not the average Nigerian.
The congress stated that 19 years of democracy in the country had offered very sparse rewards for the Nigerian people, noting that the government had failed to allocate resources on the basis of equity, justice and sustained national development and cohesion.
This was contained in a statement in Abuja on Monday by the President of the Congress, Ayuba Wabba, entitled, “19 years of democracy: time to ask questions.”
The NLC said it was unfortunate that those elected to serve as democratic leaders had not only turned around to serve themselves, “but continue to exploit every given opportunity to turn Nigerians into paupers in their own land.”
Wabba said Nigerian workers were frequently turned into cannon fodder by the political elite in their high stakes political games and mindless scramble for the commonwealth.
He noted that despite escalating costs of living, devaluation of the naira and general hardship in the land, workers were still forced to survive on N18, 000 minimum wage with many states owing backlog of salaries and pensions.
The NLC said, “While we celebrate democracy’s irreplaceable gift of freedom, liberty and popular representation, the truth remains that this democracy has served the political class and not the average Nigerian.
“Unfortunately, those we elected to serve as democratic leaders have not only turned around to serve themselves, but continue to exploit every given opportunity to turn the rest of us into paupers in our own land.
“Besides the frequent unlawful dipping of fingers into the public till, everything including salaries, pensions, perquisites, ways and means are skewed in their favour to the exclusion of workers.”
Wabba added, “This certainly makes a mockery of the very essence of democracy which is service to the people and for the benefit of the common good.
“For us in the labour movement, a democracy that does not allocate resources in such a manner that ensures equity, justice and sustained national development or cohesion is beggarly.
“While pensioners wallow in misery and unimaginable suffering, the members of the political elite led by state governors as a matter of law and policy, take in advance whopping severance packages to which they are not entitled in the first place.”
The NLC President noted that despite the efforts of the government, the infrastructure was still in tatters, the roads were impassable and public electricity supply remained epileptic.
In spite of the effort by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to fight corruption, the union said corruption kept fighting back more viciously, adding that the wanton killings across the country called for concern.
It conceded that the electoral processes were improving, but downgraded the elections conducted by state electoral commissions.