By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja, Oct. 1, 2020 The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to provide a resilient base for sustainable development for the wellbeing of all Nigerians regardless of ethnic and religious orientation in the country
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President made the call in a message to workers and Nigerians at the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary with the theme, “Together” on Thursday in Abuja.
Wabba said that the journey of Nigeria’s nationhood cannot be complete without mentioning the great and timeless contribution of the Nigerian working class in the liberation and developmental struggle for Nigeria.
He said the organised Labour has continued to play the role of a vanguard pan Nigerian institution standing as a check to neo-liberal and anti-people policies of successive governments.
According to him, Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that has such a rich diversity of ethnic groups per square kilometer. This is the very reason Nigeria has been described as an extremely ethnically diverse multinational state.
“Being together after sixty years of independence despite being through very tumultuous moments in our national life including experiencing a very bloody civil war is certainly something to celebrate.
“But being ‘together’ must have a stronger value than mere physical co-existence and enforced tolerance of ourselves. At sixty years, we must confer a bigger value to our being together.
“Our togetherness amounts to nothing if we are not tapping from the wealth of knowledge, experience and cultural diversity of the Nigerian people.
“Our being together amounts to nothing if the rich intellectual resource of our people is not applied to solving key developmental issues.
“Our togetherness might as well be a liability if we fail to use the political process to achieve national consensus on the Nigeria of our dream,” he said.
He added that it is in spite on our togetherness, a big disservice to our natural endowments and a huge slap on the resourcefulness of our people if after sixty years Nigeria is still importing toothpick, pencils, and needles from abroad.
Wabba said this make a huge mockery of the biggest assemblage of black people on the planet if at sixty years Nigeria was unable to refine its own crude oil.
He, however, noted that indeed, Nigeria is the only Organisaton Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) country suffering from the self-inflicted malaise.
“It is unimaginable that with the abundance of water sources, vast windy terrains, coal and large deposits of natural gas, Nigeria struggles to generate and distribute up to 5000 megawatts of electricity, a sum insufficient to power some airports abroad.
“It is sad that at sixty years, our political leaders still prefer to send their children to schools abroad and treat themselves in foreign hospitals since our public schools and hospitals have been so terribly mismanaged.
“Truly, the message Nigerians, especially workers get when our political leaders say that we are together is that we are together to the extent of baking the national cake.
“When it comes to eating fro the cake, Nigerian workers and people are shut out in the cold and rain while those who had forced their way to positions of political leadership corner the collective wealth for themselves and their families alone,” he said.
Wabba also said the dividends from the recent negotiations are consistent with the contribution of organised Labour in Nigeria to the genuine togetherness of the Nigerian people and the harnessing of the intellectual and physical abilities of Nigeria for national development.
“Organised Labour had also used the opportunity offered by the recent negotiation with the government to ensure that workers are not completely left high and dry by the recent twin harsh policies of the government.
“We insisted that we must be able to provide workers with affordable means of transportation,” he added.
He, therefore, said that as a pan Nigerian mass membership-based organisation, the Nigeria Labour Congress would continue to seek for real solutions, not cheap populism, to the challenges that beset the Nigerian people and the Nigerian workers.
The NLC president added that, in this commemoration, we renew this bond with Nigerian workers and the Nigerian people.
He said that Labour would continue to be the voice of the voiceless, the voice of caution, the voice of unity and the voice that galvanizes ‘togetherness’ towards realizing the huge potentials in the destiny of Nigeria and her immensely talented people.
“We urge every Nigerian to renew their faith and hopes in a Nigeria that is truly together on the principles of justice, equity and fairness.
“It is our hope and expectation that going forward from this 60th Independence commemoration, Nigerian citizens would discover that the power to make our togetherness count for something lies in every Nigerian.
“We all have our contributions to make towards building a great country that speaks well of the black race.
“This can be achieved through laying a strong foundation for decent work conditions, secured environment, participatory democracy, free and fair elections, accountable leadership and diligent commitment to building a vibrant economy that is export oriented, ”’ Wabba said.
He also called for the provision of a resilient base for sustainable prosperity and for the wellbeing of all Nigerians regardless of ethnic and religious orientation, ”he said.