From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the free, fair and credible November 6 governorship election of the Anambra state was the greatest tribute on this year’s posthumous birthday of the first President of Nigeria and the Great Zik of Africa, Rt Hon Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
The Minister said the election of Professor Chukwuma Soludo “at a material time Anambra is nearly overcast by the shadows of a second term gubernatorial fatigue, clearly aligns with Azikiwe’s emancipative vision of showing the light so that the threatening darkness begone.”
He added that Nigerians are positive that this trend of credible election shall continue.
In a statement by his Media Office in Abuja, Tuesday, Ngige said he was not surprised President Buhari did not allow Anambra to sink into chaos, especially in the backdrop of threats of election boycott, reinforced by a spate of violence and killings, because according to him, the President was just like Dr Azikiwe “a quiet promoter of peaceful elections and co-existence.”
“President Buhari has paid an immeasurable tribute to Zik with the conduct of the Anambra governorship election widely acclaimed as credible. The President appreciates the place of Anambra as the cradle of Igbo civilization, as well as the fulcrum of its republican entrepreneurial spirit. With Anambra down, the President knows full well, the entire South East will be in disarray.
“I recall that it took President Buhari to give Zik a deserving resting place by completing the long-abandoned mausoleum and library at his Inosi Onira residence in Onitsha.
“It is the same President Buhari who started work at the Second Niger Bridge, currently nearing completion. This is a project that was made a vanishing bait by successive governments at every general election.
“As a Zikist myself, I often reflect on Dr Azikiwe’s philosophy of economic determinism that Africa should look inwards, ‘that nobody except Africans can determine the future of Africa and that black is not synonymous with lack; and being black, not eternal confinement to backwardness.
“This philosophy finds expression in Buhari’s backward integration agenda, especially the revolutionary agricultural policies, towards a self-reliant, food-producing nation.
“This philosophy also guided the push and re-focusing of our labour administration policy on youth employment, with skills acquisition, an area with an abundant latitude for wealth creation as the new focus. We are geared to turn out youths who not only employ themselves but also employ others.
“Being conversant with Zik’s vision for the greatness of Africa in world politics, also spurred the moderate achievements Nigeria recorded in international labour diplomacy since Buhari assumed office in 2015; where we moved from being a benchwarmer in the ILO to the deputy membership of its Governing Board in 2017, and now full (Titular) membership. A Nigerian, Sen. Chris Ngige, for the first time in history, became the Chairman of the Government Group of Governing Board of the ILO between 2019-2020.
“Under this period, we brought the entire world to Nigeria in August 2019 in the first-ever Global Youth Forum of the ILO held outside Europe in its 100 years history .
“Under this period also, Ngige led Nigeria to galvanize other African countries for a purposeful push of the continent’s mutual agenda, demanding, for instance, the removal of the last vestiges of colonialism from the ILO as well as straightening the unanimity of African voice, that today, an African candidate from Togo will most likely emerge the next Secretary General of the ILO.
“Zik once said that ‘That Africans through education and hard work, through pride in themselves and through achievements would emerge on the world scene as equal with other members of the world, that there is no other way to develop the character, initiative, and ability of the youth of the country so that they may be reliable, useful, and intelligent in the rapidly changing life circumstances than education.
“There is no departure from these immortal words and we the current leaders of Nigeria must uphold this.
“We, the leaders also, must emulate the pathway to a peaceful and prosperous nation through honesty, competence, tolerance and consensus-building as lived by Dr Azikiwe.”
The Minister further commended the Anambra State government for declaring November 16 a public holiday and urged youths to use the opportunity to reflect on the giant footsteps of the Great Zik of Africa.