GOVERNMENT at every level can
only achieve its goal of service delivery
to the people, in an atmosphere of
industrial harmony. It is equally a
precondition for high productivity
in an organisation. Since President
Muhammadu Buhari-led government
came on board, the country has
witnessed a number strikes, arising
from past administration’s inability
to keep to its own terms of agreement
with labour. Although, strike is a
legitimate instrument which workers
deploy to force compliance to
agreement. This writer is not trying to
question the deployment of strike to
force compliance to agreement; what I
am simply saying is that the country’s
interest must be paramount in strike
contemplation.
On the 19th of October 2017, workers
of National Emergency Management
Agency (NEMA) embarked on three
days warning strike, to press for the
implementation of agreement earlier
reached with the management.
Though the Engineer Yunusa
Mustapha Maihaja-led management
curtailed it when it was barely one day

old. The concern of this writer remains
with some of the inscriptions on the
placards the workers were displaying
in the course of their protest. One of the
placards reads: “Maihaja is an electrician,
we are humanitarians”. Some workers
even called for the sack of the DG.
Nigerians know that in this
administration, a number of industrial
actions have been witnessed. In the
strike embarked upon by Academic
Staff Union of University (ASUU), and
National Association of Resident Doctors
(NARD), recently, none of the two
establishments called for the sack of the
President. They equally never asked the
President to resign or be impeached on
account of being a retired military man.
In fact, it is becoming clear that workers
are using industrial action as political tool
for blackmail and intimidation of chief
executives. Is it a mere coincidence that,
days after the Director General (DG) of
NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja said that the
liabilities he inherited is being subjected
to forensic investigation that the workers
called for strike?
Reports have it that NEMA currently
has N2.8 billion liabilities and N665
million suspicious staff claims. For
instance, which DG will pay a civil

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servant N58 million claims without
verification? Rational Nigerians can now
see the reason behind the “humanitarian”
claim of the workers here. It will be
recalled that Maihaja inherited N1.5
billion as at April 26, 2017, out of which
N382 million is owed workers, N1 billion
to suppliers and tax liability of N90
million. If the strike was not political,
why the hurry when the DG had said he
was committed to paying, but after due
process of verification.
The laughable claim by workers,
according to inscriptions on the placards
they were displaying, that being an
engineer makes it impossible for the DG
to lead NEMA made the whole strike
a comedy exercise. In the first place,
working in NEMA does not make the
workers humanitarian ambassadors.
The only category of people that fit into
this attribution is the philanthropists.
They are the people that give without
expecting anything in return. Somebody
who works for his money, cannot in
all honesty, be called humanitarian
ambassador.
Even in Management Science,
motivation experts cut across different
disciplines. Anybody conversant with
late development of management

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science as a discipline will agree with this
writer, that the reason was that, it use to
be a department in Political Science. In
case the NEMA workers are not aware,
Fredrick Taylor, the father of Scientific
Management was an Engineer. Frederick
Herzberg, another Management
Scientist, was a Psychologist; Abraham
Maslow was another person from the
same background as Herzberg’s; he was
not known to be a humanitarian. So, ones
discipline is not a factor in managing a
humanitarian agency.
Much as I am an apostle of fidelity to
agreement, I am opposed to the use of
strike for political purposes. It is to note
gratifying that the management of NEMA
responded quickly to what appeared to
be a politically motivated strike. I will
advise that instead of hasty industrial
action that will not do the organization
any good, the workers should have been
patient with management, considering
that the DG, Engineer Mustapha Maihaja,
came on board barely seven months ego.
Although, seven months may not be
enough for a thorough clean up of the
agency’s financial record, considering
other challenges the agency is grappling
with. Government at all levels should
endeavor to keep to agreement it

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reached with workers in the interest of
industrial harmony.
While commending the swift
manner the Mustapha Maihaja-led
management brought the strike to
an end, it is advised that genuine
issues bordering on workers welfare
should be addressed with dispatch.
Equally, worthy of commendation is
the matured approach to the problem
by Honourable Sulyman Mahammed
Sarkin Noma-led committee on
NEMA. What the National Assembly
should urgently do, is to pass a
resolution criminalizing the use of
strike as a platform to play politics by
the leadership of labour. A situation
where strike is used to demand the
sack of chief executive should be
discouraged. After all, when ASUU
embarked on strike in recent past,
they stayed on their demands without
calling for PMB’s resignation on
account of being a retired soldier.
Similarly, NARD in their own strike
only demanded for a better deal from
government without introducing
pernicious politics. Labour should
not constitute shadow government by
introducing politics to strike.


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