To the Ideal Workers with Love

June 29, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Abdulyassar Abdulhamid



I am among those who think workers should be celebrated, not only on 1st May, International Workers’ Day, but every day. This is to celebrate the enormous contribution workers give to the process of nation-building. We should, as a means of paying back these ideal workers, fly broad-winged kites and gigantic balloons through the endless sky with their names boldly written on them. This is the little we can do to immortalize them. I am well aware that whether we do this or not, workers’ labour will never be in vain. For one day when a worker is long gone, a passerby will come and say ‘here lived one of the greatest gatemen, clerks, street-sweepers, typists or carpenters.’ The time will surely come.


As you pass by the workers, despite the toil and low wages, they hum to spur themselves on. Their pleasure comes from their sweat. They wake up early and go to bed late. And even in their beds they think of tomorrow’s work. They have sold out their time for the benefit of all. This one who sacrifices his happiness for others is called a worker.


Has not a worker other demands? He needs to send his children to school. He needs to put food on the table. He needs to look good. He needs to have some sleep. He needs to be with friends and family; but has only the little time he is allowed?


When I move from one street to another I see invisible pictures of workers that have constructed our bridges, streets and built our houses. Their traces are there in our places of worship. Somewhere in classrooms I see their vestiges. In hospitals I see their wide footprints. In our offices I see their pointers. At our gates they are there working day and night. They man our factories that produce the garments, shoes, bags, whatnot, we use. Some of them have gained a limp or two in the process of rendering their services to the public.


At our police stations we have workers that feed others at our courts. Those at our courts channel it to those at our prisons. Is there any place where there are no workers? Tell me? How often do we spare even a thought for those perfect workers from whose sweat germinate the seeds we plant, from the seeds thereafter come up plants and fruits; and then to finished products in front of us to eat. Have they not deserved some respect?


As an individual pinned down by his intentional predicates, since a man cannot be stripped of his society, history, orientation or belief, I will dedicate this special write up to one section of these workers. I will wave their spacious flag not because I downplay others’ efforts. No, they are equally important. I will always work harder if I have the chance.


I will today give golden medals to the ex-workers of Nigeria Airways once more. Although many of them are gone forever, I commend them in absentia as a token for the faithful services they rendered for this great nation. Many of them have used up their energies, exhausted their eyesight and worn out their lungs in this noble service to their fatherland. They worked, worked and worked until they could work no more. They are the true nation builders.


The struggle today is twelve years down the line. I watched different protests they staged. Guess who are the front-liners? You could hear the screeching sounds of their crutches. Some were wobbling. Rheumatism has eaten up their joints. The rows of these ex-workers converging to claim their pay-off are led by strong-hearted comrades. They push, push and push unrelentingly in search of justice. I could see, and still do, their flag-bearers waving colossal flags under the heavy rain and in sunny days.


Now and then sharp scythes of injustice reap the remnant mercilessly. The front-liners, in some cases, lose their lives. The scythes cut limb after limb but before the flag touches the ground the next person takes up the flag in a soldiery attempt to defend a nation – a nation of workers upon whose back mighty international ties and massive hinges of international relations rest – and of a sudden an invisible gold-studded crown with comrade inscription cut on it places itself carefully on his head.


I at once go upon my knees to pay unwavering loyalty to these ideal workers. There are workers who worked risking whatever they got until work took to its heels. The torments are unimaginable and the cries so deafening; but nobody seems to care and no mercy in sight. Some live on crutches forgetting the pleasure of legs; and some have thrown in the towel: they could no longer hold onto the rope of living. The suffering is so grudgingly incarnating itself in their families. It set up high barriers between them and hospital due to its exorbitant medical bills, schools for its skyrocketing fees and exaggeratedly grain of any type. Hollowed eye sockets, famished body, callous hands and cracked feet, falling sight and age are their frequent visitors.


So strange a move medical doctors in the Canadian province of Quebec have rejected a pay rise this year. I watch this with envy. They are luxurious and superior like statues. Are some workers better than others? By way of comparison, our workers here, especially the ex-workers of Nigeria Airways, are living dead.


My fear, my only fear, is when will these ex-workers be listened to? When will someone from those estates of the realm wipe out their tears even with the back of his hand? When will someone so high weigh their torment and fill in the patches created by their tears? I wish I own that muscled pen to sign the papers that will unlock the safe wherein their pay-off has been stored. Alas, I am a common-man-of-the-street. Who can neither speed up their trial nor intervene.


Despite this, I will work harder, harder, for the pleasure in it – for the human race in general. Some days beads of sweat from my hard labour will inspire, motivate and excite me and others until we push work to the next level – until Nigeria becomes great again.


We have to feel for our workers. They are the only and real assets we have. Our pride, wherever we are, rests in their ability to work. The very day we allow negligence to befriend them that very day will hatch lazy workers and unproductive ones.


If we refuse to listen to them or decline their demands what heart will listen to their torment? What soul will find a solution to our workers’ problems? As much as we need good workmanship in every workshop, office, classroom, hospital, factory, police station, barrack and airport, we need to treat our workers well and reward them handsomely.





Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid, Kano based, is graduate of B.A English from Bayero University, Kano. He is a budding writer, social analyst, freelancer at Sunrise Language Practitioner (SLP) and regular contributor to Nigerian dailies. 
His writings have appeared in The Communicator, a magazine published by Kano State Polytechnic and in Dailytrust, The Triumph and The cable newspapers. He has a strong interest in literary theory.

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