The Nigeria Labour Congress has accused Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma of high-handedness and being a “budding dictator”.
In a press release, signed by its national president, Joe Ajaero, the union said its attention had been drawn to a circular issued by the state government under the leadership of Hope Uzodimma ordering all workers in the state to attend May Day celebrations by force in his chosen venue and under his own clone of NLC and TUC with a threat to punish those who refused to do so.
Ajaero said: “We are not surprised that this governor is behaving this way given the nature of his emergence as governor. He has trampled upon all known statutes both local and international in an effort to muzzle all voices of opposition in the state while he holds workers and the people down in the cesspit of fear and great despair.
“It is amazing that the government does not understand that you cannot dictate to workers how and where to hold their May Day celebration.
“Government is not in a position to decide how and where workers decide to hold their celebration. It is supposed to be a day of freedom but Hope has decided to turn it into a day of bondage.
“This is unacceptable and runs counter to the provisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), especially the spirit of conventions 87 and 98 which also speaks of non-interference of government and employers in the internal affairs of workers.
“Imo state government has continued to defy sane engagements, reasonable dialogue and compliance with the Laws of the nation.”
According to him, Uzodimma believes that the same impunity that may have brought him to power can sustain everything he does in government.
“NLC wants to state clearly that we are not fazed by his threat to sanction our workers who have decisively concluded not to attend his version of the May Day celebrations wherever he has chosen to celebrate it with the stooges that he has selected and is using to exploit, oppress and emasculate workers in the state.
“We urge workers in Imo state to ignore this Nicodemus circular that was hurriedly issued and proceed to the State Secretariat of NLC in Owerri where workers are gathering to observe the May Day as originally planned.”