Organized Labour, Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria, 1999-2007

  •  Okonkwo C. Eze    
  •  Uchenna G. Chinwuba    


This paper intends to investigate the changing role of labour from that of a union to a movement that has come to champion the course of democracy and sustain good governance in Nigeria. This new role has generated a lot of debate and controversy among labour activists, political class as well as the general public. The 1999 bourgeois constitution of Nigeria not only skewed political activities in favour of politicians but also assigned a narrow function to labour in a liberal democracy that emphasizes popular participation and negotiation of interests. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Obasanjo having demonstrated a penchant not brook opposition skillfully stifled the opposition through juicy appointments and award of fat contracts to some leading members of the opposition. Such a development was not just antithetical to democracy and good governance as its corollary but also tended to turn Nigeria into a one-party dictatorship. The creation of a myriad of weak and unviable political parties later was no more than a ploy to consolidate the PDP rulership of the country in an age where neither the Legislature nor the Judiciary has willingly risen to the responsibility of checking the excesses of the executive. This development has transformed labour from being a union concerned with the welfare of its membership to a movement poised to deepen and expand the content of democracy and good governance. The paper hopes to fill the gap in our knowledge of the enduring government-labour interface during the Obasanjo’s second era. It avers that labour has through its strikes and mass appeal, brought some influences to bear on government’s anti-people, pro-rich, and policies and practice considered obnoxious.

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