Sunday, May 1, 2016 5:11 pm
The Trade Union Congress, TUC, on Sunday came hard on some Nigerian governors and ministers in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari saying they were provoking Nigerians to revolt against their administrations in the next general elections that come up in the country in 2019.
President of the TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, threatened at the celebration of Workers Day in Abuja, Nigeria that many of these governors and other political officers that have continued with anti-people policies would be eased out in the next election.
“Comrades, some ministers and governors are seriously failing us, and we shall not hesitate to vote them out in 2019. We may even demand record of their stewardship sooner than that.
“If magic is what we need to put things right this time, let it be. All we want is a country where companies can have access to foreign exchange to do worthwhile business, a country where the US dollar is at per with the naira, a country where the youths are gainfully employed, a country where the distribution of tricycles is not seen as the prime way to alleviate poverty, a country where starched monies in Dubai, US, UK and co. are all returned to boost our economy, etc.
“We deserve no less. We create the wealth of the nation and must have a strong say on how things are run,” he declared.
Kaigama noted that even though Nigeria remains a great country, many Nigerians have lost hope due to decades of rape of the national treasury by a privileged few.
“Yes we are a great nation, but greatness is never achieved on a gold platter. It is earned and must be consciously sustained.
“As a nation we are endowed with enormous natural resources yet grope in the darkness of poverty and underdevelopment. We produce crude oil but sleep at filling stations to buy the by-products therefrom.
“As we celebrate Workers day 2016, we must all resolve to put our acts together if we must revive our ailing nation,” he read in a long address to members of the congress.
Kaigama also noted the various contributions made by the organised labour and its critical roles in the governance of the country recalling how a former president once accused labour of forming a parallel government just because it challenged some of his administration’s “unfruitful policies.
“Similarly we recently resisted the suggestion by lawmakers for government to make use of workers accumulated pension funds. We simply do not trust our politicians enough to permit such unwholesome risk.
“Much earlier, on the eve of 2015 presidential elections, we tasked the presidential candidates of the two leading political parties on their plans for workers in particular and Nigerians in general. We did that because we are tired of failed promises from politicians,” he said adding that labour has been involved in national conferences and committees set up by governments at various levels to fashion out ways for the growth and development of the nation.
Kaigama disclosed that during a courtesy visit to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, early 2016, he and others raised issues related to the unwarranted increase in electricity tariff, upward review of the national minimum wage, resolving the lingering crisis in the health sector, need to settle arrears of allowances owed public servants by the Federal Government, need for payment of gratuities to retirees, strengthening the oil and gas industry, revival the textile industry, boosting the construction industry, the anti-corruption war, job creation, and national security, amongst others.
He called Nigerians brave saying they have continued to thrive in spite of “challenges of estimated billings for electricity, the incessant fuel crisis and its attendant long queues at the filling stations, the poor infrastructure and death-trap roads that claim thousands of lives yearly, the impunity of governors who slash salaries at will, the unwarranted killings in Agatu, Benue State, the Boko Haram activities, unprecedented devaluation of the naira, the trauma of casualisation, outsourcing and mass sack/redundancy of workers, unemployment, poor healthcare facilities, import-based economy, etc.”
According to him, the theme of this year’s May Day celebration: ‘The Working Class and the Quest for Socio-Economic Revival’, is apt and timely when considered in the light of the country’s peculiar challenges over the years and the need for the country to make a paradigm shift.
He however noted that reasonable success had been made by the present administration, but that there were many more grounds to cover.