The Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) alerted Nigeria’s leaders to urgently address unemployment and poverty otherwise face a Tunisia-like or Egyptian-like revolution revolt. Nigeria, however, does not present the same dynamics as the two northern African countries. It is a non-dictatorial democracy where free speech is enjoyed and where groups like Boko-Haram and The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have redefined revolt.
Speaking at a forum in the city of Lagos, NLC president Abdulwaheed Omar said Nigerian leaders may face protest largely fuelled by rising prices, mass unemployment, and poverty just as the cases in northern Africa.
“Apart from the need to urgently and comprehensively address the job issue, Congress position is that the business of government must include the provision of mass housing, water, and education for all Nigerian children to the Senior Secondary School grade. We call on the nation’s leaders to urgently address these challenges to spare our country these types of mass revolts,” Omar warned.
Concerning the forthcoming elections, the NLC said it would lead mass protests against politicians who subvert the will of voters during the elections.
“We must develop a culture where electoral crimes will be punished rather than its perpetuators rewarded by being allowed to re-contest as was done in recent rerun elections.”
According to the Labor president, the NLC will support politicians who will provide basic minimum economic programs that will ensure the welfare and well being of Nigerians and the development of our country.
The threat of revolt by the NLC comes after Boko Haram- a radical Islamist sect in northeastern Nigeria threatened an uprising against the government on Wednesday and claimed responsibility for the killing of a prominent local politician last week.
“We are carrying out these attacks in order to propagate the name of Allah and to liberate ourselves and our religion from the hands of infidels and the Nigerian government. We are therefore calling on Muslims in this part of the world to be wary because very soon, we would launch a full scale war,” Bojo Haram sect said in posters written in the local Hausa language.
Nonetheless, security forces are investigating who was responsible for plastering the messages on public buildings.
While ethnic and religious tensions exist in Nigeria amidst socio-political and economic issues, the country is not in a position that is subject to revolt. The government under President Goodluck Jonathan is not repressive; it is inclusive and widely commended.
Nigeria is not under a dictatorship. Its citizens enjoy relative freedom of speech, freedom to gather, freedom of religion and a free press. Human rights records are decent amidst religious and ethnic tensions.
However, the threats of revolt as defined by groups like Boko-Haram and The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) are unlikely to derail national presidential and parliamentary elections due to be held in April, but rather adds to a security headache for President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, which is dealing with the ethnic and religious tensions in the north and the threat of violence in the oil-producing Niger Delta.