Festus Keyamo, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and minister of state, labour and employment, has tackled the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for rejecting the proposed removal of petrol subsidy.
Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, had vowed to remove petrol subsidy if he becomes president.
The NLC adopted Obi as its candidate in spite of his stance on the matter.
On Tuesday, Emma Ugboaja, NLC general secretary, said the union would resist any attempt to remove petrol subsidy by the incoming administration.
Reacting to Ugboaja’s remarks, Keyamo said NLC’s position smacks of politics.
He said: “With the greatest humility, this is a massive contradiction, my friends and comrades in NLC. You officially adopted Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate, as your candidate at the elections and he also vowed to remove subsidy on pms. YOU DID NOT PUBLICLY DISASSOCIATE YOURSELF THEN FROM HIS POSITION.
“I called out NLC then through a statement I issued and warned about the moral burden of adopting such a candidate when you are opposed to subsidy removal. Nobody listened to me; I knew a day like this will come. Now, you have the moral burden of reconciling your positions on this issue; though, I can vouch for your patriotism, you have to convince the nation that your position now is not political since your candidate lost at the election.
“I also urge you to re-think your position because subsidy presently gulps about N300 billion on a monthly basis and this economy cannot simply sustain this. What I think we should be talking about is a significant increase in the minimum wage (and all consequential adjustments) and an immediate identification of massive infrastructural developments in all regions of this country to where the money saved will be channeled immediately.
“This will create more jobs to the delight of NLC. We also need to convince the people that the money saved will not go into unnecessary recurrent expenditure. The earlier these discussions start, the better; but subsidy has to go.”