Workers want more action on national issues

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Nigerian workers want the government to expedite action on burning national issues including fuel scarcity, herdsmen as well as power supply.

The workers under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, made the call when they converged in Lagos to mark this year’s Workers Day.

TUC Chairman in Lagos state, Comrade Akeem Kazeem during his May Day rally address, called on the Nigerian government to develop a holistic database to curb terrorism, challenges.

Kazeem was of the view that new security architecture for Nigeria had been long overdue.

“The workers charge the federal government to view the entire incident (insurgency) as a clarion call and opportunity to develop a new security architecture,” the TUC Chairman maintained.

 Protest over governor’s absence

The workers, however, protested the absence of Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode at the venue as they were told that Governor Ambode would be represented by the Head of Service, Mrs Olabowale Ademola.

The unionists made several attempts to shout the Head of Service down when she wanted to read the Governor’s address, a development which led to a delay for over an hour.

However, after apologizing for the governor’s absence, Mrs Ademola delivered Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s address in which the workers were saluted for their dedication and commitment.

“All over the world, the worker is recognized as the most important factor of production.  As a government, we appreciate workers and make bold to declare that they are the makers of history. Every day we say Lagos is working but I am here to tell you that Lagos is working because the workers are doing the right things at the right time. I am happy to join the Workers of Lagos State on this May Day celebration.

Before I became Governor, I was a part of the committee of workers and I am still a part of this group because I am still a worker but on a different platform. I therefore identify with the entire work force in Lagos State and share with you the mission to sustain and increase our common wealth for the prosperity of all,” according to the governor.

 Great opportunities

He said though this year’s celebration was taking place at a challenging time, the period had presented great opportunities for the nation to build a strong and sustainable economy.

In Governor Ambode’s words, “most of the challenges facing us today are largely man-made and therefore the solutions lie in our collective capacity and ability to chart a new path that will lead to higher productivity, wealth creation and job opportunities.

Governor Ambode however said that for the nation to chart a new course, the working class had a huge role to play, just as he urged them to cooperate with the government and other employers of labour.

“It is a time for understanding and sacrifice, driven by patriotism and conviction in the political will of the government to turn things around for the better.  It is in this light that the theme of the celebration: The working class and the quest for socio-economic revival,  must be understood. We must all re-dedicate ourselves so as to attain higher productivity and maximum efficiency,” he said.

He also used the occasion to charge all workers to rededicate themselves to the ideals of hard work, efficiency, loyalty and honesty, promising that the State Government would continue to give due consideration to matters affecting the interest of workers and their welfare.

Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the NLC, Lagos State chapter, Comrade Idowu Adelakun urged Governor Ambode to remain neutral and refrain from getting involved in any act that could lead to division among the various unions.