Joe Ajaero becomes new NLC President, threatens strike over petrol scarcity, calls for review of Nigeria’s power sector privatisation

Oredola Adeola

Joe Ajaero, the former General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Workers, has been sworn in as the new National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), promised to mobilise workers for industrial action at the end of next week, if the present administration failed to address the nationwide petrol scarcity. He also called for the review of the privatisation policy on the electricity sector which is claimed was mired in corruption.

The Joe Ajaero-led new NLC leadership emerged at the 13th National Delegates Conference in Abuja, held in Abuja on Wednesday

EnergyDay gathered that Ajaero emerged as the President through a consensus, taking over from Ayuba Wabba, who had served the Congress for 8 years (2015 and 2023).

Other members of the executive include Adewale Adeyanju, Deputy National President; Audu Amber, 2nd Deputy National President, and Kabiru Sani as National Deputy President.

Ambali Olatunji was elected the National Treasurer; Benjamin Anthony, Vice President; Steve Okoro, Vice President; Michael Nnachi, Vice President; Olawole Sunday, Vice President, and Marwan Adamu, Financial Secretary.

Others are Williams Akporeha, National Trustee, and three Internal Auditors, Babatunde Olatunji, Mohammed Ibrahim and Haruna Ibrahim; as well as two ex-officio members.

Ajaero in his acceptance speech said the new leadership of NLC would mobilise workers for industrial action at the end of next week if the present administration failed to address the nationwide petrol scarcity.

He said, “We shall therefore robustly engage the government to stop the impunity and pervasive wickedness currently going on in the country in the name of Petroleum product pricing.

“The current Electricity tariff and provisions remain stacked against Nigerian workers and masses, and we shall therefore work with the government to bring sanity to bear on that sector”.

The NLC president urged the federal government again to review the Privatisation of the Electricity sector, saying “a process both the government and all of us have agreed was mired in corruption”.

He further said, “Our demands on the Nigerian State are the same. We have unwaveringly asked for a secure nation where we can move freely and carry out our daily activities without violently losing our lives and properties.

“We have demanded equity and fairness in the sharing of our nation’s resources, a more functional and accessible education system for our children, increasing access to high-quality medical care, high-quality road infrastructure, increasing access to nutrition and generally elevating the factors that increase human wellbeing.

He also promised to speak for the welfare of millions of Nigerians, with a view to seeking a platform to lift them out of poverty.

Ajaero said, “We, therefore, pledge our loyalty to the NLC, workers, the Nigerian people and the country. Our thoughts and actions shall be propelled by this avowal,” he said.

He also noted that the new NLC leadership would pursue a new national minimum wage law that would take into consideration the objective reality of the socio-economic situation and expand its reach to capture more workers.