The nationwide rally against the increase of the petroleum pump price staged by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday was shunned by government workers, residents and other concerned members of the public in Ondo State.
Prominent activists in the State who had earlier kicked against the new fuel price also snubbed the rally, which was relatively ‘scanty,’ during a protest staged by the NLC.
A SaharaReporters correspondent in Akure reported that the protesting labor leaders in their few numbers gathered in their “red singlets” with hosted flags and called on the federal government to quickly revert the price of petrol as they registered their dissatisfaction towards the action.
The protest was aimed at registering the stance of the union against the new increased fuel pump price implemented by the federal government last week.
Our correspondent in the Ondo State capital reported that both public and private schools in the State were opened as well as banks.
Some government workers, mainly at the Alagbaka Secretariat of the governor’s office, were also sighted at their respective places of work, although those present were carrying out skeletal jobs, especially the secretaries in the offices visited.
Our correspondent observed during the “scanty protest” that the residents of the State went about with their daily activities in the main capital city of Akure.
Some of the protesting labor leaders were also seen forcing passersby and cab drivers to join the strike and avoid carrying passengers.
However, some of the residents accused the labor leaders of fighting for their pockets and not for the plight and interest of the general masses as they claimed.
In towns such as Owo, Ikare, Ondo, Ore, and Okitipupa, feelers told a SaharaReporters correspondent in a telephone chat that residents carried out their daily businesses and ignored the strike.
Ayodele Fashola, a security guard with one of the financial institutions in the State, told our correspondent that transactions have been taking place inside the bank since it opened its doors at 8:00 AM.
“We have opened our doors widely to our customers since exactly 8:00 AM, which is the official time that all banks begin the day’s work.
“Look around at other banks and you would observe that none of us are a part of the protest being carried out by the NLC in the State chapter,” he said.
Sanmi Amusa, the Ondo State Council Vice Chairman of the NLC, said the federal government should urgently revert to the old price in the best interest of the masses.
“The percentage of the fuel increase is more than necessary and the masses cannot afford such outrageous prices. It is better for the federal government to adjust the price and revert to the old price that we can afford,” Mr. Amusa told SaharaReporters.
Government workers in the State questioned the ingenuity of the protest and accused the labor leaders in the State of not protesting to ask the embattled Governor Olusegun Mimiko for their outstanding salaries and arrears.
"You can't expect me to join in this protest with an empty belly even though what they are fighting for is for our collective benefit. My agitation is that the Ondo State NLC leaders should look in-house, mostly at our unpaid salaries, before directing us to protest.
"You can see for yourself that people have refused to join them in the protest, and this shows to all of us that civil servants and residents of Ondo State are not currently happy with the type of labor leaders we have in the State," one of the workers said.
At the time our correspondent was filing this report, the NLC leaders were still marching around the street of B Division leading to the popular Adesida Road while hurling different unprintable names on the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.