Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja appealed to organised labour to allow his administration concentrate on its efforts to fix infrastructure in the country and avoid distracting it.
Labour had threatened to embark on nationwide protest next Tuesday over the refusal of the president to send National Minimum Wage Bill with the provision of N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly for legislation.
Buhari made the appeal while receiving the Executive Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in State House.
Buhari said, “In three and a half years, we have improved tremendously on what we met. We are trying to do infrastructure. No matter which part of the country you come from, you will see the efforts we are making in terms of roads
“We are trying to fix rails. We are trying to do power, through the use of gas and solar. If you note what we have done in these three and a half years, you will not regret voting this administration into power.”
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Buhari also stated that Nigeria was doing very well in agriculture and consequently, the country was about to attain food sufficiency and security.
Adesina said Buhari who advised the students to continuously plead with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its strike, equally assured them that he would speak with the union “so that they don’t encroach on your efforts to qualify in time.”
He also said Buhari disclosed how he had explained in details in his 2019 budget speech the nation’s earnings and expenditure and consequently expected the elite to understand the position of the government on certain issues.
According to the statement, it is the responsibility of the government to look after both the employed and the unemployed.
The statement also said the president urged the youths to start preparing themselves to lead the country, with the admonition that “there is a tendency for you to think that you can do better than anybody but it is very good for you to know the facts that leadership entails.”
It added that the president assured labour leaders that having been in positions of leadership at various stages in life, and acquired a lot of experience, he meant well for Nigerians as well as workers, and hence, should be allowed to fix infrastructure so that more Nigerians could be taken out of the poverty cycle.
He was quoted as saying, “I am totally loyal to this country. Whatever I do is in the interest of the ordinary people especially those who do not have the benefit of being educated like you, and are just trusting whoever is leading them.”
The statement added, “President Buhari expressed gratitude to the students for appreciating some of the things his administration has been able to put in place and called on them to mobilise support for government, as it strives to make Nigeria a better place.
“Earlier in their remarks, the students, led by the president, Danielson Bamidele Akpan, had expressed appreciation of the efforts of the administration, especially in the transformation of the transportation sector as well as the decimation of terrorists in the Northeast.
“They, however, requested the government to intervene in the incessant strikes in the education sector; involve more youths in governance; and look into the plight of students in different institutions who have been expelled for ‘political’ reasons.”