by Rachel Ogbu
In celebrating May Day today, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole on Tuesday made a detour from previous messages as a labour leader, advising Nigerian workers not to mark the May Day celebration lamenting instead he challenged them to use it as a day for engaging those in authority.
According to reports, the former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, urged Nigerians not to forget that the purpose of government was the control of resources in order to allocate resources in a way that reflected the values of those who wield political power.
“I like to remind NLC to use this opportunity to remind workers that it is not a time for lamentation, it is a time for engagement, practical engagement.
“My comment to NLC and to the organised labour is to recognise that we cannot persuade the oppressors to stop oppressing. We cannot persuade the exploiter to stop exploitation.
“We can engage them, we can terminate them, we can weaken their capacity to doing so and we can get freedom when we resolve to stand on our feet. That is my message to the union. When we remember that the union makes us strong, then we can build a new world from the ashes of the old,” Oshiomhole said adding that in Nigeria, it was still hard to merge efforts with reward because the reality was that the people who work very hard could hardly eat.
Oshiomhole also shared his opinion on the NLC leadership style after he left as president.
“I think that I had more challenges as President of NLC than I have as the Governor of Edo State because at the level of NLC, you are the voice of all those that are voiceless.
“It is the job of the NLC to fight not only for the workers who are retrenched but for their employers, who are confronted by such a hostile environment that forces closure of factories. The NLC is to find voice for all those, who seek redress, yet the resources coming to the body, is limited,’’ he said.
The Punch reports:
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has commended workers of the state for their support to state government.
Deputy Speaker, Mr. Udo Kierian, who presided over the plenary on Tuesday, said there had been friendly relationship between the workers and the government.
Kierian said, “We have to commend the workers for collaborating with government, their support and loyalty that have made the dividends of democracy to reach our people.”
Also, member representing Uyo Constituency Mr. Edwin Joseph, said the welfare of workers should be paramount in government agenda.
“Workers are the engine room of government, we must ensure that their welfare is taken care of and support their interest,” he said.
Chief Whip and member representing Mbo State Constituency, Mrs. Alice Ekpenyong, moved the motion adopting the resolution.
In a related development, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has commended workers in the state for their contribution to the transformation of the state.
The governor, in a message to commemorate this year’s May Day, said the workers were important stakeholders in the implementation of his administration’s eight-point development agenda.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, the governor, who described May Day as a day of “workers’ liberation”, also praised the labour unions in the state for maintaining industrial peace in the state.
Also, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State said workers were veritable “soldiers” in the quest for country’s socio-economic transformation.
Ahmed, in a statement on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, on this year’s Workers’ Day celebration, noted that no society desirous of economic development could toy with its labour force.