By Henry Uche
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Lagos State Council has re- elected comrades Ekundayo Gbenga and Aladetan Abiodun, as the Chairman and Secretary respectively for the next three (3) years term. The election took place in Lagos at its 5th Triennial Delegates’ Conference.
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In his acceptance speech, the re-elected Chairman vowed to do better and always speak truth to power when need be, saying that TUC strongly hold the view that labour has a role to play as a critical stakeholder in the policy direction of government due to its impact on the working people.
He maintained that his second tenure would see that it worked with the Lagos State government to deliver deserved democracy dividends. He pointed at health, security, education, power supply, Transport among others as areas of top priority for the government.
“It is noteworthy that the health services facilities available in the state are still far from adequate. Efforts need to get re-doubled to build more health facilities across the state. Only a healthy citizenry can create a wealthy state. The number of our out of school children keeps growing while the student/teacher ratio for those in school leaves much to desire, despite interventions by the stats government, the education of our children deserves more than lip service, our old age will be in their hands,”
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Ekundayo applauded the recent efforts by the state to upscaling and up-skilling the technical, vocational and entrepreneurial education in the state as well as the efforts of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, noting that they were steps in the right direction. “There is however need to see to it that these drives are put to appropriate use with physical evidence of successes shown to avoid the past experiences of great projects on paper with fat spendings,”
On security he decried the unprecedented influx of young people into Lagos State from the north owing to insecurity over there, calling for a deliberate data gathering of persons living in Lagos and perhaps a creation of more IDP camp in the war ravaged areas funded by necessary authorities including the Federal Government to meet the accommodation challenge of displaced persons. “We call on the State government to increase efforts in the call for creation of State Police. Lagos State needs to be in control of its police for effective service delivery,”
Bemoaning the epileptic power supply which has crippled industrial activities and stunted economic growth and development, he asseverated that the much clamour for job and wealth creation would continue to surfer huge set back if the issue of power supply is not effectively addressed. “Beyond the special power evacuation agreement between the state and some Gencos and Discos, efficient service delivery through the provisioning of Meters to households require high priority. It is time we cleaned up and recreate our industrial estates with adequate supply of electricity in order to boost production activities and create more jobs and more wealth. We are of the opinion that a State like Lagos should be allowed to generate its own electricity as against the present practice where it has to depend entirely on the erratic National grid which has recorded very meager impact,”
On transportation, he plaintively singled out traffic gridlock as the major challenge facing Lagos workers where productive hours are lost and while workers suffer avoidable stress and tension trying to commuting to and from work on daily basis which has undoubtedly affected the health and purse of not only workers but Lagosians at large.
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“We believe firmly that Lagos as a coastal city will do far better when the waterways are effectively and efficiently harnessed for transportation using proper and safe ferries. This must be complemented with the establishments of more jetties and emergency response services along the water routes where commercial activities can equally spring up and have Lagosians gainfully engaged. We know the State Government has done a lot in this direction but we strongly think more needed to be done,”
Troubled by the spat of moral decay in the society by children and youths, he added, “I enjoin everyone for the sakes of our children to get involved and contribute to the future of children in every little way we can at every time and everywhere we find ourselves. We are faced with two gifts every day- chances and choices. We shall plant the trees, even if we will not sit in their shades.
“To our members, we promise to move to site and ensure we commence our housing project quickly so that members can start enjoying the fruit of their labour. The era where workers will have to wait to enjoy the fruit of their labour in heaven is getting behind us. We create the wealth, let us enjoy it here on earth,” he averred.
Similarly, Abiodun Aladetan, who spoke on behalf of the Secretariat promised to protect the interest of its affiliate at all times. Aladetan maintained that training and re-training would still be a top priority to position its members for the future challenges in the workplace. “Even in the heat of covid-19, we adopted online training for our members, these trainings have expose members to critical issues and knowledge that will aid them in the discharge of their responsibilities,”
On Housing scheme, the secretary confirmed that the state council in the next three years would intensify efforts towards ameliorating the housing challenges members face in Lagos State, in order to preserve their disposable income from shylock landlords in Lagos state.
“After our letter to Lagos State governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, for the provision of land for the building of what will be known as ‘WORKERS VILLAGE’, he approved our request by allocating hectares of land in Ibeju Lekki and Badagry.
“We already have the approved survey of both parcels of land in Idera and Badagry and we await the official land allocation and a speedy mobilization from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria so that developers can move to site. As a State Council, we have also assisted our members in the State Public Service to get higher government allocation for all government Housing Schemes. It is in record that we have been able to move the allocation quota with 40% rebate for civil servants from 10% to 20%,”
He added that in other to ameliorate the plights of its members, the Agric Cooperative it set up for workers would keep booming and blossoming, noting that its relationship with other strategic Partners would remain intact. “We shall continue to strengthened our working relationships with the State Government, the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Security Agencies, our media partners and very importantly our sister labour centre, NLC. We remain optimistic, though with caution, that our working relationship with our sister labour centre and other partners will keep getting better and stronger going forward, all things being equal,” he assured.