From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq on Monday called on the labour unions in Nigeria to always exploit dialogue and mutual understanding in pressing home their demands from governments, saying this will foster industrial harmony and hasten national development.
The Governor specifically commended the labour unions for their contributions to national growth and policies of dialogue.
The Governor spoke in Ilorin at the Harmattan School of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) held at the Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS).
“I use this platform to call for constant engagements, dialogue and mutual understanding to resolve all issues between stakeholders in the labour industry. This will foster industrial harmony, improve productivity, and hasten national development,” the Governor said while declaring open the 18th edition of the Harmattan School of the NLC in Ilorin.
The theme for this year’s session is “Expanding Nigeria’s Democratic Space for Trade Union Organising in the World of Work”.
He expressed hope that the gathering will evaluate the inner workings of labour organisations and foster understanding between employers and employees in formal and informal sectors alike.
Abdulrazaq commended the Director General of the Institute Comrade Issa Aremu and his team for sustaining the age-long initiative that he called a smart way to bridge existing gaps in labour-government relations.
The Governor reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the welfare of workers in the State as part of the measures to promote industrial harmony.
“I congratulate the leadership of this great Institute and the NLC leadership for this creative initiative. It is a smart way to bridge existing gaps in labour-government relations,” he said.
“Our administration is always committed to industrial harmony. We are committed to workers’ welfare and mutual respect at all times. I commend the labour unions in Kwara State for always reciprocating our good faith thus far. I believe we can do a lot more together in the coming years.”
Abdulrazaq urged participants to extend the knowledge from the event to others who were not present, noting “that was the way our society can reap the full benefits of this laudable programme”.
In attendance were the Special Adviser on Special Duties Alhaji Abdulrazhaq Jiddah; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Labour Matters Abdulmumin Onagun; NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba; Deputy National President of NLC Alhaji Najeem Yasin; State Chairman for NLC Comrade Issa Ore, representative of the Country Director for International Labour Organisation (ILO) Mrs Inviolata Chinyangarara; and various delegates of Trade Union Congress from Ghana, Sierra-Leone and Liberia; among other labour leaders.
Labour leaders who spoke at the occasion dwelled on the need for the labour movement to be more organised while handling issues affecting their members across the federation.
Director General of the Institute Comrade Issa Aremu, for his part, said the theme for this year’s Harmattan School is well thought-out, adding that the organised labour knows that democracy offers them a better platform to advance their struggle for decent work and decent living.
He said the forthcoming elections in Nigeria will largely be determined by labour issues like employment, wages, security of jobs and good governance, asking who among the presidential candidates are capable and ready to re-industrialise the Country, create jobs and pay workers a living wage.
He praised Abdulrazaq for doing so much to promote the comfort and dignity of the State workforce, alluding to the government’s commitment to the implementation of the new minimum wage and regular payment of salaries, among other pro-labour programmes.
“Comrades, let us shine our face; don’t judge anybody by the claims or covers. Look at their contents (manifestos). What are their antecedents? What are they up to? And I am happy that we have a governor here (Abdulrazaq), my host Governor, who has been tested and trusted,” he said.
“I listened to Comrade Issa (State NLC Chairman) who confirmed that the Governor has paid the new minimum wage, including the consequential adjustment.”
NLC President Ayuba Wabba, in his keynote address, called on all employers of labour to prioritise the welfare of workers and recognise their pivotal roles towards achieving economic growth and national development.
He tasked the participants, who are labour leaders from across the country and beyond, to study well and make good use of what they might have learnt to better their leadership structures and struggles in their places of work.
Wabba specifically commended Governor Abdulrazaq for his well-known love for workers in the state.