Unionism, not APC, brought me to political limelight, says Oshiomhole
Speaking at the yearly memorial lecture in honour of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, in Kaduna, Oshiomhole said though APC kicked him out of office, he refused to fall.
He recalled his labour activism at Arewa Textiles, Kaduna State, where he served as a factory worker in the 1960s.
According to him, the positions he held as the APC national chairman and governor of Edo State were secondary to his political influence in Nigeria, insisting that his activities in Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) where he served as secretary and later president, were responsible.
There was a mild drama at the memorial, as Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State left the venue on the arrival of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. Shortly after, Oshiomhole arrived for the programme.
In his remarks on Sardauna’s legacy in the country, the former governor said the factories collapsed because of a lack of regular supply of electricity in Nigeria.
“So if Ahmadu Bello did not set up these factories, Oshiomhole would not have got a job because it was the textiles job that attracted me to Kaduna at the age of 16 or 17.
“Getting a factory job at a monthly salary of five shillings and three pence, and because of the way we were involved in management and mismanagement, I got involved in activism. I ended up becoming Secretary-General of Textiles Workers Union, and from there I became NLC president, which is the most important identity I have, not the governorship, not APC chairmanship,” he said.
“I am a proud owner of a house in Kaduna, even as a union leader. How did I do it? I went to the then Barclays Bank (now Union Bank of Nigeria) and applied for a housing loan in recognition of the housing deficit. When I opened my savings bank account with my five-shilling, three pence, I had to pay loan interest of three per cent. I borrowed from Union Bank, not central bank and I paid,” he added.
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