“Government should yield to the people and stop being stubborn,” Professor Pat Utomi said today in a recent interview with the Guardian. He called on the government to respect the will of the people saying the ongoing strike is inflicting a scandalously enormous loss on the economy.
The strikes have now gone on for a week. How would you evaluate the cost of the total shutdown of economic activities in the polity? Professor Pat Utomi: It has been scandalously enormous. But Nigerians cannot afford not to have gone through this whole experience. Sometimes a society has to go through this to set things right. If at the end, the benefit of this struggle would be the reduction of corruption in government, NIgerians would have achieved a lot.
But looking at the drawbacks of this strike on the economy, how long do you think it may take Nigeria to recover? Professor Pat Utomi: My prayer is that it does not go further than this weekend. If it does, it would definitely take long. The effect of this is very costly on the economy; it is almost immeasurable.
The concerned parties are to reconvene [tonight] with a view to finding a truce to the imbroglio. What are your expectations? A number of things would happen if this stubbornness persists. If the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) pulls th eplug on Saturday night as it has directed oil workers in the upstream sector to shut down operations in the sector including export terminals, then the international community would get very excited. Already the price of crude oil is being affected because of the threat. And when the international community gets excited , it puts pressure on the people in Abuja…
Meanwhile the Nigerian Government recently failed to reach a compromise with labour at its recent meeting. Read this post for more.