Happy belated workers day all nemyinspired people, may you all reap the fruits of your labour! As you all know, I got employed as a teacher in late May 2016 so this is technically my first workers day. Yay!! Enough about me and let’s get to the business on ground, I prepared early for the d day wearing one of my Sunday best and for once my makeup game was lit. I and my mom took so much pctures before we finally left for the venue.
That's my mama the real comrade
Me and my mama (Do we look alike? )
We finally got to eagles square before 9:00am and when we entered the stadium, the place was already packed full, the thought of standing or sitting under the hot sun for hours made me to shudder inwardly... luckily for us we got the seats some people vacated. There was so much noise there that I wondered if the people were actually listening to the speeches been presented. The labour union leader read a rather sketchy speech that was so sketetal and did not relay any of the problems that are facing the workforce. The next person to present his speech was the student union leader as he was presenting his speech the noise in the stadium increased and people went about their businesses, those sharing food to their members, those taking selfies , etc the only time I knew that people were actually listening to his speech was when he appealed to the governement to implement the new minimum wage, there was a round of applause for him by everyone in the stadium... Nigerians and money talk though. When it got to the turn of the labour minister to speak, he sent a representative, the poor woman was not allowed to speak as worker began to chant ‘NO!!!’ The Master of Ceremonies did his best to calm the audience down by singing all the labour songs he knows. For where, people don already vex. All the efforts to calm the people down were to no avail, the minister in question decided to make his grand entrance, his appearance was medicine after death as the people shouted him down, the famous comrade turned politician Adams Oshomole tried to rescue him but all their efforts was fruitless.
While I was watching he drama unfold, I got distracted by a group of dancers who were dancing round the stadium – I guess the coming to the dancers was meant to distract the raging crowd. The dancers were led by a masquerade which is popularly called Izaga in Ibo. The dance troupe comprised girls who carried vultures on their heads .The vultures were alive and well and most importantly, did not fall off their heads while they were dancing. Forgive my suspicions but not only once did it cross my head that the dancers were armed with otumokpo! (African magic)
The distraction from the dancers was short lived and the audience resumed their chanting of ‘NO!!!’
It was at this point, that the M.C ordered everyone to leave the arena and people who were close to the podium were there shouting. Others in the audience started to leave. We left the place; there was no march past or any other cultural display.
Personally, these are some of the reasons, May 1st 2017 in Abuja was a huge failure:
✓ The failure of the labour union leader to presents issues bothering the workforce.
✓ The refusal of Ngige the minister of labour to present his speech even when he was there
✓ The refusal of other dignitaries to address the crowd
✓ The silence of the Government over the new minimum wage
These are my thoughts and observations on the labour days celebration in Abuja. Although I wasn’t fully entertained as I expected, I learnt one powerful lesson: the voice of the people cannot be totally silenced!