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Gov. Oshiomhole Questions NLC’s Silence on National Issues

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Governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole, has expresses displeasure over the silence of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on major national issues. This, he says is a sign that the union has “completely abandoned its primary purpose”.

Oshiomhole said this at the ongoing NLC national leadership retreat themed ‘Returning to our Founding Principles: The NLC and the Challenges Facing it’.

“NLC has completely abandoned its primary purpose. There are challenges in the movement and NLC has been silent on major national issues – issues that threaten your immediate and long-term prosperity – and when you make comments, you make them with reservation,” he said.

“For example, I do not know the NLC voice on the issue of Chibok girls, so how could these girls be kidnapped and it was Oby Ezekwesili that was seen as pricking the conscience of the then government and of the world. NLC is not even a footnote in this process; I can never understand that, we have shown that we have less interest.”

Oshiomhole noted that it is NLC’s mandate to champion the cause of all those who were oppressed, describing the union as a general purpose vehicle to fight for the oppressed. He urged NLC not to recoil to the old tradition of wages and minimum wage alone.

He said NLC had been calling for the creation of jobs for unemployed youths in the country but had failed to fight against influx of foreign expatriates.

“You are fighting for jobs, you want jobs to be created in the Nigerian economy, and you allow Chinese prisoners to operate in Nigeria and I have never heard a complaint from NLC.

“In Nigeria now, you will see Chinese working in small cafe, you will see them carrying head pan in construction sites and other places.

“So, how are we going to get jobs where Chinese employees have taken the jobs, of course we have relationship with Chinese union. But if you are caught working in China, you will be bundled and put in prison.

“I have also not seen NLC comment on the importation of rice. We understand that as long as Nigeria is a dumping ground for these products our agricultural effort can never prosper.

“I think there is need to revisit the core values of the Labour movement because it must be guided by rules and traditions of the congress because you have a lot of work to do.

“NLC must go beyond ad hoc policies due to the weakness of the system that is driven on the bases of corruption. There is also need to create unity among affiliates and the only way to peace is by conversation and understanding. To make peace, there has to be a concession, there has to be the spirit of give and take, so this workshop should not be the usual thing.”

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