The Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) has been a high profile actor since the mid-1970s when the Nigerian State made what it must, from hindsight, be considering the strategic error of centralising unionism. By popular reckoning, the NLC or labour as a constituency is not what it used to be. But it still retains the power to wake up and force a renegotiation of power in Nigeria, depending on how the balance of forces play out. What that means is the imperative of going beyond the collective agency of principal officers in accounting for the current stagnation in radical initiatives from the leading central labour body by looking at the discursive condition of emergence of radicalism in the first place
However, the point in this story is that while national officers of the NLC are the ones visible to the government and the public, there are ‘invisible’ leader-workers who man different operations of labour far away from the public glare. And it is one of those leader-workers Congress is about mourning: Comrade Akpan Dan.
No one may say s/he knew the late comrade completely. Such might not be a tenable claim. But it is possible to say that Akpan got things done. He only needed to know who you are as far as labour politics is concerned. He was, therefore, an asset.
Intervention happens to know that a fellow leader-worker at the NLC who also perished on active service was ‘replaced’ with his son. It could thus be said that the NLC has been sensitive and response in that respect and that the impact of the vacuum created by this loss would be mitigated if there is a child or wife to ‘replace’ the fallen comrade, without prejudice to NLC procedures.
It is sad the way otherwise healthy looking citizen die suddenly at short notice nowadays. But, as our Pentecostal brothers say, it is well, especially as he goes down with clenched fist!