Today, around three-quarters people affected by poverty live in countries whose economies are dominated by the natural resources sector; this leads to the weakening of state structures and the destruction of the environment, and it can give rise to or exacerbate social conflict. Political democracy is a key ingredient in Africa's regeneration or renaissance. Without political democracy, our societies are condemned to be ruled by self-appointed dictators. The broader progressive movement, including the labour movement, has a crucial role in fighting for political democracy in Africa. It is important that we root out corruption, nepotism and create conditions for popular participation to flourish. Good governance is not a luxury but a necessary condition for open, participatory, accountable and democratic governance. Studies of good governance in Nigeria have not adequately addressed how the role of the labour movement in a democratic society can bring about good governance. This study, therefore, examined the role of the labour movement in promoting good governance in a democratic society like Nigeria. The functionalist theory provided the conceptual framework while the Secondary data collection method was used to elicit information for the study.

Good governance is undoubtedly the most fundamental condition for political, social and economic development in any society. This is because it creates an environment in which everyone could unfold his/her productive, political and cultural potentials (Gberevbie & Lafenwa, 2007). Governance entails the formulation and implementation of public policies across organizational and sectoral boundaries through coalitions, contracts, and networks. The search for good governance seems to be Nigeria's most urgent need at this point in its history. Most Nigerians believe very strongly that the factor which has crippled the country's progress in virtually every field of human endeavour is leadership and bad governance (Nkom, 2000: 75).

As the country staggers from one crisis to another, nobody is left in doubt that a lot of homework remains to be done on how to fashion a more effective and acceptable way of managing public affairs in the country. Most intellectual and political discourse on Nigeria has quite understandably been preoccupied with this dilemma of poor governance with a population of over one hundred and ninety-five million (World Population Prospects, 2017). The country is blessed with abundant human, material and financial resources. More so, improving the quality of governance is one of the major pre-conditions for arresting this situation of political inertia and economic stagnation. It is one of the important requirements for moving the country forward and transforming its immense potentialities into reality. What must be avoided in the search for good governance is the temptation to go for easy solutions. To search for a way forward there must be better understanding and operationalization within the context of Nigerian history, culture, and social realities. Indeed no other country's solutions or institutions will provide an automatic panacea for Nigeria's problems (Adedeji, 2000).

The model of good governance which can work and achieve the best result in Nigeria will necessarily require an intelligent and programmatic blending of the lessons and experience of other people and the peculiarities of our socio-historical realities. Only political and administrative solutions that are rooted in the country's indigenous culture and experiences have a credible chance of succeeding. This implies that the search for a way forward must involve a return to the grassroots to draw from the political traditions, institutions, and experiences of Nigeria's communities instead of trying to rely on sophisticated models of political engineering from Europe or America. Good governance requires responsible and responsive political leaders at the grassroots. These leaders must not only be elected but also be held accountable for their actions by their electorate (Akin, 2000). Good governance promotes accountability, entails the tolerance of divergent views for the accommodation of political opponents and the widening of the frontiers of politics through inclusiveness but not alienation and exclusion.

Consequently, good governance must involve some institutionalized mechanism for holding leaders accountable to the people, for renewing or withdrawing the mandate of such leaders, and for ensuring probity and transparency in public affairs. It has been stated that Governance focuses on the state and institutions, and the relationship between them and the people. It also emphasizes how to rule are made and implemented in society.

Good governance also embraces the values that one caught by individuals and groups within the society (Tunde, 2000). Trade unions as represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the contemporary times have been the subject of considerable research and commentary, in terms of its nature, role, functionality, and effectiveness in ensuring the welfare of the Nigerian worker and the protection of her rights in industrial disputes with the public and private labour employers (Aiyede, 2004). The apparent puzzle of its longevity and continued survival despite attempts to emasculate and undermine it by succeeding regimes especially the military has often depicted it as the proverbial cat with nine lives. Despite the founded fear of its collapse into oblivion or disintegration into autonomous parts as a result of the mounted challenges confronting not only the organizational structure, but also the mechanism of its operations, the organisation has demonstrated a high degree of elasticity and resourcefulness in domestic industrial relations as well as political sagacity in the Nigerian political landscape. From the colonial period up till the contemporary times, trade unionism in Nigeria has combined industrial agitation and political activism in varying degrees dictated by the political gladiators and the exigencies of the times. The labour movement has a crucial role in fighting for good governance in Nigeria. Labour movement, specifically the Nigerian Labour Congress has played a pivotal role in shaping the way the governments perform in terms of providing good governance to the people. Labour movement's objective is to ensure that people are at the center of governance as opposed to being mere voting cattle, which expresses its will every four years (Ntshalintshali, 2001).

Adam Smith, the 18th century economist noted imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners (or “masters”). In his Book “The wealth of nations” chapter 8, Smith wrote “we rarely hear, of the combination of masters, especially those of workmen. But whoever imagines upon this account that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but in constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate”. As Smith noted, unions were illegal for many years in most countries and there were severe penalties including execution for attempting to organize unions. Despite this, unions were formed and began to acquire political power which resulted in a body of labour law that not only legalized organizing efforts, but as well codified the relationship between employers and employees. Even after the legitimization of trade unions, there was still opposition, as the case of the Tolpuddle Martyrs of 2002 shows.

Leeson R. A. (2005:1) of United States of America said “TWO conflicting views of the trade union movement strove for ascendancy in the nineteenth century”. This is because collective bargaining goes to the heart of employee relation‟s problems and power. Whoever has the power to fire an employee in performance evaluation has the power to affect significant human needs. Some employers have hired and given employees reasonable jobs, compensated them well, respected their dignity and retired them after rewarding careers.

In Nigeria, employees are represented by the National Labour Congress (an umbrella organization for all trade unions and labour association). In the United States of America, employees are represented by the American federation of labour congress of industrial organization (AFL – CIO). In most countries, it is expected that officials in the public service should not go on strike in the same way as the employees of private sector organization. There are some rules in some countries especially Nigeria which prevent certain categories of public servants from going on strike because, they perform essential services. For example, for the first in the history of Nigeria, the Nigerian police embarked on a one day strike in the year 2003.

Another important issue in the public sector is the co-existence of collective bargaining with specific procedures established to regulate the relationship between the state and it‟s appointed officials. In Nigeria for example, the teaching service and most parastatals use the machinery of collective bargaining, while the civil servants rely on the National Council on Establishments (N.C.E).

Ojeli D.C. (2001:5) opined that, “whatever roles the Nigeria Trade Unions should play, one thing is certain, and that is, that their primary function is to regulate and thus improve the worker‟s salaries/wages and conditions of employment. All other activities trade unions have undertaken and all other purposes which they have acquired should be regarded as a biproduct and auxiliary to their major purpose and activity”.

Friendland P.C. (2012:20) recorded president Julius Nyerere‟s argument in these words that, “while it was one of the purposes of trade unions to ensure for workers‟ fair share of the profit of their labour, this “fair” share must be fair in relation to the whole society, but if it was greater than the country could afford, then it was not a fair shares”.

Roseberg (2001) holds the view of African unions as that: “African unions must perform a substantially varied roles from their western counterparts which perform exclusively “consumptionists” function”. That is, they bear a major responsibility for increasing the economic output while accepting conditions of austerity and (SAP) so that, the entire society may benefit. Amucheazi, (2012:85) goes further to enunciate the functions of Trade Unions as follows:

1. Observing self-imposed wage restraint at all levels.

2. Educating their members to give up extra spend thrifts habits of the working class.

3. Encouraging small savings among the classes.

4. Increasing labour productivity through propaganda.

5. Settling the differences through the legally instituted machinery based on the principles of conciliation and/or arbitration

6. Helping the displaced labour, thrown out of employment as a result of rationalization by inducing them to take training in the new skills in the institutions set up by the government.

7. Initiating co-operative action in the enforcement of minimum wages.

8. Inducing the labour class to effectively participate in social security and provident fund schemes and

9. Sharing the profits on an acceptable basis which while, apportioning a significant percentage of profit of labour will leave significant incentive to the management to plough the profits back into the industries or institutions they own.

The economic implication of such trade union behaviour, Amucheazi continues are two folds; to restrict consumption and to bring about an increase in the desired level of production. But given a peculiar circumstance as a nation, the question now is, what roles have the trade unions played in the development process since their various formations.

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