Why Workers must Show interest in 2023 Politics —Ondo NLC, TUC

…..Akeredolu promises better deal for Workforce

By: Ade Adeleke

Ondo State workers from all corners of profession came out massively to celebrate the 2022 Worker’s day at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Arcade, Alagbaka, Akure the state capital.

The event was attended by affiliate Unions of NLC and TUC, top government’s functionaries including the Special Adviser to the governor on Union matters and Special Duties, Mr Dare Aragbaiye; the State Head of Service, Pastor Adeniran Adeyemo; the Chairman of Ondo State Internal Revenue Service (ODIRS), Mr Tolu Adegbie and some Permanent Secretaries among others.

In an address, Comrade Oluwole Sunday Adeleye, Ondo state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National President of Nigeria Civil Service Union, said it was high time for workers to show interest in the electoral process in the country ahead of the 2023 general election.

Adeleye said, “2023 ELECTIONS: Following the theme of this year’s May Day Celebrations; ‘Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development, it is expected that as political minds’, we have to wake up and be alive to our civic duties as citizens of this nation.

“NLC has constituted political structures across the tiers of government i.e. Local Government Political Committee, State Political Committee and National Political Committee. Each State Chairperson of Congress has been empowered to activate these Committees and set necessary machineries in motion to ensure our massive and active participation in every election going forward.

“You will all remember that, Labour had in the past floated the Labour Party before it was hijacked by the men of the political class. However, we are coming back as a strong and viable force to take over what rightly belong to us. Never again will our destinies be determined behind us!

“I, therefore charge every worker to go and get their PVCs in order to be armed with the power to choose rightly at the polis. Power indeed belongs to the people and we must demonstrate it,” the NLC Chairman said in an address read by his Vice Chairman, Comrade Victor Amoko.

Adeleye stressed the need to appreciate God for a COVID-19 free atmosphere during the celebration, which cannot be overemphasised. He noted that God has been so faithful and gracious that the scourge of the novel pandemic waned, adding that the pragmatic efforts of governments both at the Federal and State levels deserve our commendation. 

While appreciating the Ondo State Government’s intervention at tackling the very dangerous virus which won accolades both locally and internationally, Adeleye represented by the NLC Vice Chairman, Comrade Victor Amoko stressed that caution must be taken as it is not yet time for all to live carelessly about our health and personal hygiene.

The NCL Chairman urged the government to create room for useful and gainful employment for the teeming youths. “Though, nations are today diversifying into agriculture, e-commerce, entrepreneurial opportunities to mop-up our youths from the Labour market.

“We specially appeal to Mr. Governor to do something in bridging the serious gap in the Secondary Schools, by employing a sizeable number of Ondo State indigenes as Tutors in order to help the destinies of our Secondary School students”.

Adeleye charged every worker to go and get their PVCs in order to be armed with the power to choose rightly at the polls. Power indeed belongs to the people and it must be demonstrated.

The State Chairman, Trade Union Congress, Comrade (Mrs) Helen Odofin in her address, appreciated God for the gift of life  and for the opportunity to converge for the celebration.

She added that May Day is an annual event worldwide to recognize the invaluable contributions of workers across different sectors to national development and Its history dates back to the late nineteenth century when the workers came together to agitate for an 8-hour workday without a cut in pay, which was against the hitherto 10-16 hours which was considered injurious to the health and wellbeing of workers.

“The steadfastness and sacrifice of the forebearers of that struggle is what we now celebrate annually. Definitely, the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain. The theme for this year’s anniversary in our country (Labour, politics and the quest for good governance and development in Nigeria) is highly instructive. It is coming at a time when the electioneering processes towards the 2023 general elections are starting to gain momentum”.

“We have a role to play as workers. A huge responsibility rests on our shoulders in promoting democratic ideals. First, we have to get involved. Franchise (the right to vote and be voted for in elections) is an inalienable civic responsibility of every Nigerian. We are not excluded by virtue of being civil servants”.

Odofin on behalf of TUC, stressed that the government is doing well in the timely promotion of workers in the state, urging him to keep on with the good work.

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN while congratulating the workers in both the public and the private sectors of the State on the occassion of the 2022 Worker’s day celebration, saluted them for their resilience and dedication which have engendered optimum service delivery to the people of the state. He also appreciated the leadership of the organized labour in the state for the continued exhibition of maturity, understanding and support, particularly at these challenging times.

Akeredolu represented by the State Commissioner for Finance, Hon Wale Akinterinwa noted that “The workers are the strong engine room of every government. Their contributions to the success of any administration can not be over-emphasized. It is in recognition of the importance of our workers that this administration has continued to place premium on their welfare”.

“We have set aside the obnoxious practice which encouraged partisan politics and truncate the careers of committed public servants. Our administration has in the last five years, determined the promotion of public servant on merit. These promotion exercises are regular and timely. We have repositioned our civil service and promote discipline among public officers. We have instilled values that encourage better performance and reward hard work. We shall continue to get better”.

“We have recently approved the bifurcation of the Directorate of Finance and Administration into two departments. This is in line with the Federal Government’s directive that the directorate be separated into two departments for the purpose of specialization and to promote optimum service delivery.

“The newly bifurcated departments are the Finance and Accounts; and the Administration and Supplies. It is our belief that this bifurcation will further strengthen the delivery of services and allow core professionals to handle their schedules. We will continue to strive for more excellence in the civil service.

“While we are optimistic that better days await us, we shall not shy away from performing our avowed responsibilities. We shall keep exploring every available means to ensure that we meet our obligations of paying workers salaries, pensions and gratuities, and subventions as and when due, despite the paucity of fund and the dwindling federal allocation.” The Governor said.

Governor Akeredolu urged the workers to rededicate themselves to the service of the state and join hands with his administration to deliver on the “REDEEMED” agenda of his second term in office, which is designed to rejig the administration and improve upon the First Term performance in order to achieve more improvement in service delivery, his words “I, therefore, challenge you all, as partners in progress to continue to buy into these programmes so that our dear Sunshine State can become the envy of other States in Nigeria”.

“Consequently, there is dire need for all public servants to adopt a new attitude towards the business of governance by showing high sense of productiveness and creativity in carrying out their duties. I also urge us all to begin to come to terms with the “new normal” realities which include digitalisation of work process, artificial intelligence, critical thinking, continuity planning and personal safety and health which are now paramount at work place globally.

“While government and workers are partnering in compulsory Contributory Health Scheme to avoid catastrophic health expenditure by workers, we must, therefore, continue to place premium on our individual health. Health is wealth: just as prevention is cure,” Akeredolu said.