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Tinubu urges labour to embrace dialogue

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Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (left); President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba; President of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ibrahim Khaleel; Chairman, Industrial Global Union, Sub-Sahara Africa, Issa Aremu; and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu during a press conference on efforts to call off Labour’s strike over the hike in petrol price, in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (left); President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba; President of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ibrahim Khaleel; Chairman, Industrial Global Union, Sub-Sahara Africa, Issa Aremu; and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu during a press conference on efforts to call off Labour’s strike over the hike in petrol price, in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

May Lead Govt./NLC Negotiations Over Fuel Price Hike Strike
Banks Join Action As Abuja, Calabar Residents Are Caught unawares

The National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, may lead the negotiations between the Federal Government and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as both parties review their positions on day-three of the strike action against hike in the pump price of petrol.

Also, most financial institutions closed their doors to businesses in Abuja yesterday, which led to panic amongst the population. Many had gone to the bank at noon to begin preparations for the weekend when they discovered that some banks did not open to customers.

In Calabar staff of two banks also complied with NLC directive to join the strike , even though they belong to the TUC.

Speaking when he paid an official visit to the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, at the Labour House in Abuja yesterday, Tinubu said he was optimistic that President Muhammadu Buhari would listen to him and the team of negotiators that will include members of the National Assembly in a fresh bid at finding solution to the industrial disagreement.

His words: “You and I, including the National Assembly, would sit down and look at the options and then see how the other option, which I don’t want to disclose here, will work for the betterment of Nigeria. I can take a bet that it would work and Buhari would listen to us.”

Justifying the hike in the price of petrol, Tinubu explained that the refineries have not served the Nigerian people optimally because they have not worked at their full capacity and there is lack of investment in the sector.  “Let us look at budgets and budgets since the 1980s. Yes, we built refineries but the question is are the refineries serving our people today? No. Reasons such as vandalisation, failed Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and militancy have been given by successive governments.”

The one-time governor of Lagos State observed that what was missing was communication gap in passing across the pricing policy.  He argued that year after year, Nigeria keeps oiling the economic prosperity of other countries saying the time to stop the prosperity migration is now.   “We are shipping our labour, opportunities and money overseas for the benefits of non-Nigerians, if that is the method we have been using since 1985, that method needs a change. It has expired and the time to try new things is now,” he said.

Tinubu asked why has Nigeria failed to utilize its massive population as an instrument for building an economic empire where no one would lack.  He added: “The population that inhibited the country in the 80’s is no longer the type we have today. The vehicular density is no longer the same. This should be a sign of progress and we must ask ourselves if our population strength is an asset or liability? We have the largest economy in Africa, why can’t we take advantage of that to develop our nation? We have to change from the old method to new ones in order to make progress. I can swear on behalf of Buhari, not just APC as our party alone, that he will not touch a penny for personal gains because he has that character of honesty to steer the ship of our country.”

He stressed that his mission at the Labour House was for peace, to return to the negotiation table, adding, “even in war, participants will always come to the table for discussion. Therefore, let us build Nigeria by making it the centerpiece of the continent. Wherever there is anger, we must adopt anger management skills, I appeal to NLC to go back to the negotiation table. Let us call off this strike and discuss. I came to NLC today on behalf of my party, APC, and I also came on behalf of our government.”

While welcoming the National Leader of the APC, President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba, said the action is not about personal interest, but about engaging policies, which has been upheld by the NLC over the years. Wabba noted that Congress would discuss Tinubu’s plea of calling on NLC to suspend the action, saying, “the request of this delegation would be presented to the appropriate organs of NLC. As you know, our organization is democratic where decisions are taken from beneath.”

Wabba said Congress has never at any time refused discussion or negotiation. He also beamed a searchlight into what transpired at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the night the Congress negotiation team staged a walkout.

He revealed: “What actually happened was that when we reached a deadlock situation, government team said we should excuse them and they started planning divide-and-rule tactics. NLC has 43 affiliates and, as I speak, there are 37 affiliates under my leadership including the biggest ones. So, if someone controls just six and government on record has said many times that the Ayuba Wabba-led NLC is what government recognizes, I don’t think it would augur well. They were having meetings with many groups concurrently and we thought that was unhealthy.”

The NLC chief assured the delegation that its leadership would be considerate and open to dialogue and discussion in the overall interest of the country.



2 Comments
  • Rommel

    Labor must understand that the government has difficult duties of redeeming Nigeria,it takes sacrifices and tough decisions,they should therefore not constitute themselves into stumbling blocks to our march to progress.

  • Saidi Athekame

    TINUBU DON’T FORGET WHO YOU ARE!

    This is an extract from Tinubu’s Interview on Daily Sun March 25, 2012

    To me, the economic integration of South West is possible. It is practicable; it is a
    matter of people looking inward and saying we can create a commonwealth. It is
    not on party affiliation now. We can create a commonwealth to develop our
    infrastructure. We can create a commonwealth to develop our agriculture. We
    have the right, the capacity, the land mass and the raw materials to do that.
    We can develop our cocoa industry and teach our children how to eat chocolate
    and be cautious of dentists but still create jobs for them.

    No incentive to do that but if you pursue an aggressive policy and put money in research and
    development, you can even copy or take consultants from outside instead of
    being dependent on imported wine from South Africa and other countries. Maybe
    we can come up with kola wine you see, the man who invented Red Bull is a
    common pharmacist who eventually invited a good marketing company in and they
    all became billionaires. Why won’t Bola Tinubu envy of such a person? He was a
    pharmacist who wanted a healthy drink; just playing around with mixed drinks.
    Go and read the story; bold endeavours, solid ideas. Year after year in the
    last 12 years, we have budgeted huge amounts for infrastructure; which
    infrastructure? Where are the roads? Nobody is asking that question. Ok, they
    chase Bola Tinubu once in a while; slap somebody else in their party. Ok, don’t
    steal no more, take plea bargain and you go. Bola Tinubu, you are in the other
    party, come and show why. If you have a waistband that is 52 and I have a waist
    band of 36, who will need more food? The guy collecting 52 percent or 58
    percent of the revenue generated by Nigerians, call him little cat or little
    kitten.

    Can you recall
    anyone you lost?

    I think it was the democratization process itself; it’s true that I didn’t want Obasanjo to be
    the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and there was no doubt about
    that. I lost that one; I didn’t want him. I didn’t want to see him at all from
    inception.

    Why?

    Because anybody who has worn the uniform described as camouflage has learnt the art of
    deception and that’s the way I see Obasanjo. He had meetings and meetings with
    MKO Abiola. I was with him, I believe four of us including Dele Alake, and we
    had ‘amala’ and vegetable soup with hot pepper in Abiola’s house. Everybody was
    yawning, sweating and looking for water with MKO Abiola and Obasanjo behaving
    as if it wasn’t as hot as we made it seem; behaving as if they had this deep
    understanding. Then, not up to two weeks after that, Obasanjo went away to
    Zimbabwe and announced from there that Abiola was not the messiah.

    Haba! After that, I developed that mistrust on him; I couldn’t believe that a man could do
    that. Stand by some principles, stand by some integrity, stand transparently
    and honestly on matter of facts and as you lead other people to believe you and
    support you as a key pillar. Then, I start to think whether this man came to
    Abiola and collected information; information that we had heard that he wanted
    to be Shonekan; he wanted to be an interim leader and not Shonekan. So, when
    they presented him that he was going to be the candidate of the other party, I
    said that Nigeria was in for trouble. Can I believe this man? No, I cannot
    trust him.

    We must see hope even when it is opaque, otherwise we are all doomed. If we stop searching
    for hope and for any improvement, then we have stopped thinking and it means we
    have stopped breathing – we are all dead. So, we must challenge all our
    intellectual capacities to bring about that hope and discuss or chart a new
    course for the country because right now, we are drifting. Now’s the time that
    we should harp on industrial and economic policies. We should be building on a
    stable democracy. This is the time we are using to confront myriad of problems
    that are domestically and externally dangerous for the country such as
    religious division- a Boko Haram not Boko Halal; promoting division and
    intolerance among the tribes. We are still solving that problem but we have not
    seen the cause of our problems and we are addressing ordinary symptoms; we are
    not seeing that it is poverty, neglect and lack of good economic policies and
    programmes that is leaving people more destitute.

    There is the creation of violent reaction; we are not seeing electricity or power generation
    and supply to various homes and villages and for industrial use in our
    industrialisation but that is the most critical discovery of humanity in the
    last 1000 years. We have been searching for alternative in the last one
    century; we have not developed one and we have not even achieved any goal. So,
    if we have not done that, we must give hope to our new generation; we can’t
    give up on them. Do away with these tyrants by strongly opposing electoral
    malpractices in this country, by getting leaders to do away with deceptions; by
    mouthing and making noise about good governance without putting it to practice.
    Call on the judiciary to wake up and do what is right and adhere to liberty,
    freedom, democracy and justice for all. That is where all our efforts must lie,
    otherwise we will neglect those areas at our own peril.

    Why is it that after the removal of subsidy, the prices of fuel that we consume had gone
    up by almost 100 percent? Ok, N97 is the 57 percent of the 65 percent; if you
    add them together, mathematically it will rhyme. And the reactionary effect of
    that on the goods and services for the country is only two percent; on which
    class and in which market? Where is your market? You are the people of the
    fourth estate of the realm, you go to the same market, you have the same common
    family around here, you would have seen what is out of your pocket since then.
    You would have seen the effect of it on garri that you eat and common food that
    is made in Nigeria. We are not talking of cassava bread that they say we should
    eat now, but let’s even talk of garri that is 100 percent Nigeria; no
    additives, go and look at the price; check if what you have is two percent
    increase.

    They are liars driving the economy and feeding the public with fake statistics. If you
    have a solid economic programme, you will be able to articulate that for the
    country and you will strengthen our hope and determination. You would also have
    been able to say with this, let there be 10 years incentives for refineries to
    develop in the country; don’t go and borrow money. You can put an incentive on
    the table for the next 15 years to encourage people who will bring their money
    here and establish a refinery. You can stabilize if you benchmark fraudulently
    the rule of return; Where is it at 70; where is it at 72; what yardstick are we
    using? It’s fraud. We are creating an hydra-headed accounting fraud but let’s
    leave that. Where is the number coming from; if not from somebody’s magical
    thinking?
    All our political leaders travel abroad and they see all these things work. What you
    have just analysed is a very simple thing that people will implement. Why is it
    that when they get into Government House, even the ones you think are
    intelligent will totally change?
    Maybe we should relocate them from The Villa. But, more seriously, if we are not jinxed,
    a nation is measured by the type of leadership it creates. We are blessed with
    human and material resources and the capacity but we are not thinkers and
    doers. As citizens, we are equally too complacent and full of lamentation. I’m
    sorry, maybe it was the way our mothers carried us on their backs with loads on
    their heads and that has made us so indulged and lazy. Otherwise we should be
    out on the street fighting. If the leadership that we are talking are made
    uncomfortable, they would be forced to think about us. But these ordinary
    lamentations that they didn’t do it, they have rigged me out, they have done
    this or that and nothing is done other than complain and newspaper writing will
    never take us anywhere. Nobody will fight for your freedom for you. Power is
    not served a la carte; that’s the truth. You have to go and struggle for it.
    Look at Americans, they don’t want any more 9/11; they don’t want the Al-Qaeda
    close to them. So, they travelled as far as Afghanistan to wage a war against
    terrorism; that’s a serious nation. They make sacrifices for their country.
    Nigeria is a nation of lamentation. Even if you watch us playing soccer,
    “They’ve beat us again.” It is a race and we are asking the truth in the fact
    that pen is mightier than the sword. You, in the fourth estate of the realm and
    indeed all of us must join the crusade of getting Nigeria better; challenging
    our leadership.

    David West why the Silent now ?

    David West
    14/04/2015 Vanguard interview.

    “I want to assure you that by the time he takes over, petrol will be dispensed at N40 per
    litre. This is possible and he has the credibility to make it work. The major
    assignment of the president-elect when he is eventually inaugurated is to
    restore confidence to the industry. He noted that the president-elect is
    familiar with the petroleum industry, adding that he is a straight forward
    person that has respect for democratic principles. “As military head of state,
    he dealt with the Federal Executive Council with the tenets of democracy.
    Buhari will build new refineries to make petroleum products available for the
    masses. No responsible government will allow the masses to suffer. “He will
    strengthen the refineries within a year. It is possible as we won’t spend any
    amount in setting up a green field refinery. We already have a blueprint as we
    shall use what we have to get what we want,” he added. He further stated that
    on many occasions, the president – elect had disclosed that the subsidy
    initiative is a fraud which has distorted the progress expected in the sector.
    He is also said to have frowned at the spate of corruption, which has
    characterised the subsidy regime to include the trillions of Naira spent on
    both Petrol and Kerosene subsidy within the past few years, thus inhibiting
    efforts to properly carry-out the Turn Around Maintenance TAM, for the
    refineries. He added that on countless occasions, he had argued that the
    country is forced to pay for scam carried out by oil cartel.
    The president-elect when he is eventually inaugurated is to restore confidence to
    the industry. He noted that the president-elect is familiar with the petroleum
    industry, adding that he is a straight forward person that has respect for
    democratic principles. “As military head of state, he dealt with the Federal
    Executive Council with the tenets of democracy. Buhari will build new
    refineries to make petroleum products available for the masses. No responsible
    government will allow the masses to suffer. “He will strengthen the refineries
    within a year. It is possible as we won’t spend any amount in setting up a
    green field refinery. We already have a blueprint as we shall use what we have
    to get what we want,” he added. He further stated that on many occasions, the
    president – elect had disclosed that the subsidy initiative is a fraud which
    has distorted the progress expected in the sector. He is also said to have
    frowned at the spate of corruption, which has characterised the subsidy regime include the trillions of Naira spent on both Petrol and Kerosene subsidy
    within the past few years, thus inhibiting efforts to properly carry-out the
    Turn Around Maintenance TAM, for the refineries. He added that on countless
    occasions, he had argued that the country is forced to pay for scam carried out
    by oil cartel.