Today is Valentine’ s Day; a day dedicated to share love and affections. Often the day is personalized between two lovers. But privatized love only makes sense if there is love and affection in the society as a whole. Nigeria more than ever before needs love, love and love amongst its wonderful and beautiful peoples. Nigeria is God’s own country. What God has put together, let no senseless killings and hatred put asunder! We therefore join all compatriots to SOCIALIZE LOVE today under the theme; “LOVE CONQUERS ALL”. Please join me and my President Comrade John Adaji to say I LOVE YOU to somebody near you. Also say loudly I LOVE TEXTILE UNION, I LOVE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS, I LOVE INDUSTRIALL GLOBAL UNION! I LOVE NIGERIA, I LOVE AFRICA, I LOVE THE WORLD AND HUMANITY!
WHY LOVE MATTERS?
Love was mentioned twice in our national anthem. The first stanza;“Arise, O compatriots Nigeria’s call obey, To serve our fatherland, With LOVE and strength and faith”. Then in the second stanza, we have “Direct our noble cause, Guide thou our leaders right, Help our youth the truth to know, In LOVE and honesty to grow, And live in just and truth, Great lofty heights attain, To build a nation where peace, And justice shall reign”. As a matter of fact, there is no word of “hatred” and “killings” in our national anthem. Yet there is so much unnecessary wasteful killings in the country. Nigeria is virtually in a state of unofficial civil war. Let’s stop this madness.
Today we must stop the unacceptable culture of “fire” for “fire”. Let there be “water” for “fire”. If we do “eye for an eye,” all Nigerians will go blind. May God forbid! Please Stop the Hate Speech today and forever! Spread the Love speech all the times. Of course there is the problem of fuel scarcity. There is a war of attrition between so-called herdsmen and so-called farmers. I said so-called because genuine cattle rearers and genuine farmers should give us meat and food respectively not kill each other. Even in the labour movement, we have our challenges of non-payment of salaries in some states and payment of salaries that can hardly take us workers home. But the solution is not to agonize and spread more hatred. The solution is to organize and stand up in solidarity to solve all the problems of nation building which are not peculiar to Nigeria.
REMEMBER NELSON MANDELA’ MESSAGE
NELSON MANDELA observed and I agreed that; “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People are only taught to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can also be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Today we must heed the message of Mandela and spread love in place of hatred.
Today we celebrate with the recently released three (3) Lecturers of University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists while conducting oil prospective in the Lake Chad area on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Also we are happy with the 10 women kidnapped in a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy on Damboa road, near Maiduguri some two years ago but also now released. We are happy that the released compatriots are marking Valentine’s Day with their families, followed a series of negotiations as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari. The recent release also came after some of the abducted 276 Chibok school girls have been rescued by the Nigerian government.
HAIL THE DSS, ARMY, POLICE
We commend the joint efforts of the Department of the State Security Service (DSS) and other security agencies as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, for facilitating the release of the abducted lecturers and policewomen. In particular we hail the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the war against insurgency in parts of the country. We hereby call on the Nigerian government and indeed the International Community to intensify the effort to liberate the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls from captivity of agents of killings which Boko Haram represents.
We also dedicate today’s Val Day to the memory of the late General Murtala Muhammed who was assassinated in office some 42 years. Murtala Muhammed will always be remembered for his selfless leadership for the country. Murtala gallantly fought against corruption while in office. He was a great patriot who also led the struggle against colonialism and apartheid in Angola, Namibia and South Africa.
Lastly our union hereby dedicates today Valentine’s Day to the commendable efforts of Timilehin Leukaemia Foundation (TLF) , an NGO formed by comrade Jane Oyedele with the mission of raising awareness about leukaemia and also helping patients especially children living with such condition in different ways. Comrade Janet Oyedele is a great mother who even after the death of her only son, Timilehin Oyedele to Leukaemia still shows remarkable motherly love by helping other children in similar circumstances. May God reward her efforts and keep her child in paradise. All of us should say loudly; WE LOVE HER, WE LOVE ALL CHILDREN LIVING WITH Leukaemia. An Injury to One is an Injury to All. Love for one is Love for All. Forward Ever, Backward Never!!!
Issa Aremu, mni
GENERAL SECRETARY, Textile Union,
NEC MEMBER, NLC
VICE PRESIDENT, IndustriALL Global Union
MEMBER, NIGERIA INTERVENTION MOVEMENT (NIM)