By; Niyi Ogungbola, Abeokuta.
A member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Honourable Olayiwola Ojodu yesterday escaped being lynched by the angry workers who stagged a protest rally round Abeokuta, the state capital against the “no work, no pay” policy of the state government.
Honourable Ojodu, had attempted to deliver the Assembly’s “Letter of Appreciation” to the leadership of the striking workers for allowing the lawmakers to intervene on the matter before the angry workers attacked him and destroyed his car.
The workers had earlier convened at the State Secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) located along the Abiola Way in Abeokuta for an onward peaceful protest round the Abeokuta metropolis to drum up the supports of members of the public for their course.
But while being addressed by the state Chairman of the state NLC chapter, Comrade Akeem Ambali, the Lawmaker surfaced and headed straight towards meeting the leadership of the protesting workers, and was attacked by the already charged protesters who stoned him with pebbles and sachets of water.
The development however, forced the state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Ambali to quikly moved in and shadowed the lawmaker into his official car which was letter vandalised by the angry workers.
Honourable Ojodu had confidently entered the midst of the protesting workers erroneously hoping to deliver the said letter of appreciation from the state House of Assembly in furtherance to the earlier two meetings between the leadership of the State Assembly and the leadership of the striking workers.
The NLC Chairman, Ambali however, hurriedly approached Ojodu and collected the letter as the crowd chased him out of the premises.
When contacted on phone to comment on the incident, Ojodu acknowledged that he was at the NLC state Secretariat to deliver the letter as requested by the workers.
“I don’t want to talk because we are looking for peace and not trouble, the House is intervening and what they demanded for is what I came to give them. They demanded a letter and that is what I come to give them, the letter is with them and they will read and reveal the content.”
A Member the State Assembly who commented about the letter on condition of anonymity said, “we met them and the meeting was held twice. At the meeting, we appealed to them to call off the strike and allow the House of Assembly to intervene and they agreed.
“But what we’ve done is to give them, as requested, a letter of appreciation and to restate our position that we will be open to mediate between the Executive and the workers towards finding lasting solution to the strike.”
Meanwhile, the striking workers have insisted that they would not back out on the industrial action as the strike enters the second week.
An earlier proposed peaceful protest to the State Secretariat slated for yesterday was cancelled because of the alleged unruly behaviour of the workers.
The protest however took place from the NLC Secretariat in Abiola Way and ended at the Secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) under the watchful eyes of the stern-looking security operatives.
Visit to the State Secretariat in Oke – Mosan showed that a handful of workers defied the workers leadership as they were seen at their duty posts.
Heavily armed mobile Police as well as personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) mounted the two entrances to the state secretariat.
Speaking during the protest, the NLC Chairman who demanded apology from the state government for allegedly lying against them said the action would have been unnecessary if the government had been responsive.
“This action would have been unnecessary if the government had been responsive, behave responsibly to the expectations of the Ogun State workers.
“When an ultimatum is served, that doesn’t mean we are in war, we want to use the opportunity to negotiate and dialogue but when the government shut her doors on collective bargaining and dialogue, what we are witnessing now will be the repercussions.”
By; Niyi Ogungbola, Abeokuta.