Tinubu, APC Stalwarts Storm Labour House, Beg NLC to Return to Negotiation Table

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By Paul Obi in Abujai

The federal government yesterday began  moves towards wooing the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) back to the negotiating table with the hope of a making labour end the on-going strike.

This came as the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other political stalwarts of the party Friday stormed the national headquarters of NLC, Labour House, located at the Central Business District of Abuja.

With the visit, government intends to woo labour to rethink joining the negotiation it walked out of early this week owing to several discrepancies between it and government.

Addressing the National Executive Committee (NEC) members led by NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, Tinubu appealed for understanding, stating that deregulation had become very germane if the country was desirous of checking irregularities in the downstream oil sector of the country.

According to Tinubu, APC as a party started supporting deregulation policy when it became obvious that subsidy payments to few oil marketers was actually of no benefit to majority of Nigerians.

He reminded NLC leaders of their contributions which ensured the victory of the APC in the 2015 general elections, adding that it would be foolhardy for the labour movement to now oppose the policy of a government they worked tirelessly to put in place.

“I am here to appeal to you to understand that whatever you are doing, whatever this government is doing, whatever the President is doing which involved myself and yourself is for the good of all.

“You brought this government on board, without you, without your support, without your participation, we could not have won the election. Now that we have won the election, we can now look at ourselves and ask ourselves how best we can manage the victory, how can we use the success to make a change?{“, Tinubu pleaded.

“Yes we have refineries and we have built refineries, but are the refineries serving our people today, no! Reasons have been given government after government; we have heard things like turnaround maintenance, vandalism, excuses upon excuses. Is it benefiting the public? Is it getting to the schools and purse of millions, why would Nigerians remain poor why? He asked.

He maintained that “Nigerians can count on the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on the promises he made during the electioneering campaigns. If there is one thing we can all count on it is the integrity of President Buhari, he would not touch a single kobo of your money.

“For me ideologically, progressive governance is what we are all about, and progressive governance means inclusiveness of the welfare of the people, the progress of a nation that depend upon the acceptance of the people, government of the people and by the people as defined in democratic value”.

Tinubu explained that the refineries which were now obsolete were bringing in more headaches for the government and people of Nigeria, despite repeated turnaround maintenance and vandalism that has characterized them.

Responding, Wabba stated that the appeal would be tabled before the National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC where they would consider whether to negotiate with government or not.

He said labour leaders were not averse to negotiations but that parties to the negotiations must come to the negotiating table with equity and utmost sincerity.

Other top party functionaries that accompanied Tinubu on the visit were Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, Senator Kabiru Marafa, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, Idi Farouk and former President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwahid Omar among others.