…My commitment is to move Nigeria from consumption to production
By Rita Esegine
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Tuesday, pledged to support, campaign and do everything within their power to ensure that the Labour Party candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi, emerge winner.
NLC and TUC Presidents, in their different welcome addresses made this pledge at Pascal Bayau Labour House and TUC Secretariat Abuja, respectively.
Speaking to the congregation of high profile labour leaders and members who gathered at the 10 anniversary lecture in honour of Late Pascal Bayau, the third president of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, stated that Mr Obi is among the finest Nigerian and the first presidential candidate of Labour Party to be recognized by the labour Centre.
He went on to say that NLC is solidly behind Labour Party and will fully mobilize to ensure the victory of the party come 2023 general elections. He also recalled that workers’ unions have realize that strikes and protests alone cannot change the narratives in Nigeria, especially in regards to workers welfare and fair treatment to the working peoples, hence labour must venture fully into politics and work hard to support candidates whose mantra will make life better for their members and Nigerians at large.
On his part, TUC president, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, said that Mr Obi is a face among the presidential candidates all labour unions are pleased and are ready to work with, and that the entire labour movement has accepted, adopted and will support, and ensure workers massively vote for him in the 2023 presidential elections.
He further said that Labour Party is stronger, one and formidable. He also added that the party has a widespread structure, as there is a worker and a members of either TUC and NLC in every family across Nigeria. He insisted that Labour Party is the only party for Nigerian workers.
In his address, Mr Peter Obi, said his visit to the leadership of the two labour centres was not to campaign but for a courtesy call; to honour the Organised Labour on whose party and interest he is seeking Nigerians vote in the 2023 general elections.
Furthermore, he said; “My commitment is to move Nigeria from consumption to production and you can’t talk about production without labour. Labour is the engine of production, Capital and machine can do anything but labour is what makes it work. Because labour is the greatest contributor to production, it has to be properly remunerated.
“I don’t need to tell you how bad things are in this country today. if you are on wages, today Nigerians spend 100 percent of their wages on just feeding. So many don’t even know where their next meal will come from. They pay to train their children only for them finish school and stay at home without work.
“These are issues we need to discuss about. Nobody can be president without sitting down with the labour organisation to decide the future of Nigeria.
“We can nolonger have a situation where the leaders are here and workers are there. They must sit on the same table and talk. That is the beginning of the solution, that is what is happening all over the world.
“Nigeria is not a producing country. The collective effect of what we are suffering today is bad leadership. We have a leadership that concentrates on sharing. So you have to move from sharing formula to production formula.
“This is a country of 200 million people sitting on 923,000 square kilometers of land. They can’t feed themselves, they can’t export anything.
“Total Nigeria’s export including oil is under $2 billion for 200 million population. A similar country, not a first world country, one with the same tragectory with Nigeria in the year 2000, Vetnam, sitting on 331,000 square kilometers of land, a third of Nigeria’s land space and 100 million population, with half of Nigeria’s population, their total earnings last year was $ 312 billion.”
He said that more than half of the country’s youths of productive age are unemployed. ” This is what the Labour Party is seeking to sit down to discuss for the future of our country.” He added.
He went on to say that borrowing is not the problem of the country as other countries are also borrowing to support their economic development drive. However, he said; “If you borrow for consumption, you are in problem but if you borrow for production, you will progress.”
Mr Obi also suggested that a law should be enacted to ensure that all loans by government should be for productive ventures.