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Ahead of the 2015 general election, the organised labour and its civil society allies have begun strategising to rescue the Labour Party (LP) from perceived “political hijackers,” stating that the party had derailed from the ideals that promoted its formation.
Speaking at a forum organised by the Textile Workers Union at the weekend in Lagos, the two groups lamented that the party formed in 2003 on the principle of social democracy, had been hijacked by “political usurpers” who are no different from other political parties.
They insisted that it was time to rescue the party and make it serve the interest of Nigerians along social democratic principle on which it was founded.
All the speakers at the forum agreed that the party had lost focus, and not serving the interest it was meant to serve.
A former General Secretary of the Amalgamated Union for Public Recreation (AUPTRE), Sylvester Ejiofor, said those who formed the party had abandoned it in the hands of politicians who are using it to pursue narrow interest and political gains.
Ejiofor, a founding father of the party who served as its first national chairman, likened the fate of the party to a man who went shopping and left the trawler in the shopping mall after filling it with various items already paid for.
He charged leaders of the organised labour at various levels; national, state and local government to come together and say no to politicians who want to use the party as a platform for short-term gains.
He added that “Labour Party is not an investment house; we must now say no to aliens.”
Speaking also, General Secretary of the Textile Workers Union, Isa Aremu, said it was difficult to determine political ideology the current Labour Party was pursuing.
Aremu, who is also a Vice-President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the party was formed to pursue the welfare of the people, but had been hijacked by those who whose political ideology was different from that of the founding fathers of the party.
“What political ideology does the Labour Party stand for, the left or the right? It is difficult to tell. After ten years of the party existence, it is time to reappraise its performance with the view to repositioning it,” Aremu said.
In his contribution, President of the Textile Workers Union, Oladele Hunsu, said the union would collaborate with the civil society allies to intensify campaign to reclaim the party and make it work for Nigerians.
He urged all stakeholders to register ahead of the 2015 elections, adding that “Labour must take ownership of governance, register and be ready to be part of the political process.”