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Labor Unions and the Nigerian Democratic Experience: An Appraisal

Talabi Rasheed Ayegbusi and Joseph Rudigi Rukema


Published: 2021/06/01


istorically, labor unions in Africa were an important force in the anti-colonial liberation struggle before they became an appendage of ruling parties and governments after independence. Although the role of civil society for democracy in developing countries is widely debated in academic and political discourse, there is far less research about the role of labor unions in transitions to and consolidation of democratic government. This paper presents the activities of labor unions in political transitions in Nigeria as a case study, and especially their role since the inception of the current democratic dispensation in 1999. The data for this research were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were collected through interviews with stakeholders on labor and democratic issues. A total of 28 respondents were interviewed. The secondary data for the study were derived from books, journal articles, magazines and newspaper articles, reliable and verifiable internet materials. The evidence shows that labor unions played a very significant role in the history of Nigerian democracy but were not continuing with the commendable role they had played in the fight against military rule. In order to promote a prosperous future for both democracy and organized labor in Nigeria, it is recommended that the role of centralized trade unionism should be constitutionally restored.

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