Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has urged the representatives of the labour movement at the ongoing National conference to speak for Nigeria and national unity when those with parochial views champion ethnic agenda.
Speaking in Benin City yesterday during a visit to him, in his office, by the national leadership of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Woodwork Workers, Oshiomhole said: “The Nigerian Labour Congress must be on the side of the Nigerian Nation. They must champion National Unity. They must never be apologetic on the position they take on the side of non-indivisible, one Nigeria.
“I know for a fact that when the political class assembles to share resources, there is no North, there is no South, there is no East there is no West. I also know for a fact that when the business class meets at the board meetings of the banks and big businesses and they want to share profits, they share it as if they are from the same womb. They are united by the factor of greed.
“On the other hand, across the North and across the South, across the East and across the West, the ordinary person is united by poverty. People still struggle to have access to pipe borne water. People still struggle to get good education for their children. The elite have chosen the escape route of sending their children to school abroad
“Those who cannot afford to study abroad are pushing their children to African Countries. And leaving the Nigerian child under a classroom without roof or even schools without teachers and where there are teachers, they are of doubtful competence.”
Oshiomhole argued that the possibility of upward mobility for children of the poor is increasingly reduced.
He said: “The implication of the future is clear for the NLC, to organized labour and the progressive segments of the Civil Society that the children from villages who don’t have qualified teachers and therefore cannot pass Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry means that children of the poor can never become Medical Doctors in this country. They can never become Civil Engineers, they can never become Electrical Engineers. Even in Politics, they might just be reduced to thugs.
“I think nobody else is better placed to fight this struggle than the Nigerian Labour Congress. So we must identify the critical issues that affect the short and the long term interest of the poor. So we must speak for Nigeria.
“NLC must speak on the side of one Nigeria. Our commitment is to the development of the whole, not development of any particular part. You have to be on the side of national stability by putting resources of Abuja and putting them in the states.
“If you remove the resources from Abuja and put them in the states, you would have thirty six locations and there won’t be struggle for control of the centre, Abuja would be there as a big brother mediating when things are getting out of control”, he said.
Earlier, the President General of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, furniture and Woodworkers, Comrade Amachi Asukwuni, said they were in government House to identify with on his numerous developmental strides in the state.
According him “we have taken keen study of the transformation in Edo State and the foundation is traceable to your days as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress”,.
He called on the governor to aspire to higher office so that the development in Edo can be replicated to other parts of the country.