Lagos Water Policy: Labour Activist, Ayodele Akele, Has A Word For Ambode

Ayodele Akele

A veteran trade unionist, Comrade Ayodele Akele, has chided the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, over his administration’s plan to privatise water and implement other anti-people programmes in the state.

He also advised Ambode not to forget the past as he was a beneficiary of his struggle.

Akele, a former chairman of Congress of Industrial Unions (COIU) made the disclosure when he spoke at a workshop in Lagos on Wednesday, organised by the Public Service International (PSI) in collaboration with the Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).

The activist, who spoke on the need for trade unions and the civil society groups to form strong alliance and resist the move by Lagos State government to privatize water, asked Lagosians to rise up against the horrible move.

Akele, who vowed never to bow to any form of intimidation by any government, state or federal, asked those in power today not to proscribe their memory of the past when they were victims at the receiving end.

Akele, the 2015 governorship candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in Lagos State, advised Ambode to be on the side of the people so that history will be fair to him.

His words: “It is shocking to see how power changes people. This governor (Akinwumi Ambode) is a beneficiary of my struggle. It is sad that today he is hell bent to ensuring our water is privatized. But we will resist it with all that we have.

“As a civil servant in Lagos, Ambode could not say he did not benefit from the struggles we fought, so he must have a rethink and be part of the people’s movement. You cannot be bigger than the people when the chips are down.

“Some of us have paid serious sacrifices, most times to the detriment of our family and life but we have continued to soldier on. I have resolved not to relent and no matter their high powered propaganda we will not succumb.

“Those in power are united in their greed but we are united with our travail, our pain, our poverty and with God on our side, we will have victory. No matter their strategy we will not give up because we put them there and power belongs to us, the people”.

Akele urged Lagosians to resist any attempt by the Ambode-led government to privatize water, saying that “our water is our right and every attempt to privatize it will be resisted by Lagosians because they are aware of the deception ahead and its consequences”.

It will be recalled that Akele, who is also the chairman, Human Rights Defenders Network (HURIDEN), was sacked in 2001 by the government of Bola Tinubu for leading tens of thousands of workers in the struggle for the implementation of N7, 500 minimum wage.

He told The Niche, “The struggle against injustice is the struggle of my life and it is too late for government to stop me now. I can only stop if contending issues of injustice are adequately addressed and the masses satisfied with the system, if not, I will not relent because I will always be on the side of the people”.