The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) congratulates Nigerians on the special occasion of the country’s 61st anniversary.
The President of TUCN, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and its Secretary General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi, in a statement on Thursday, said that though the journey had been torturous, yet the country recorded some remarkable feats.
Olaleye said that the contributions of the country’s working class in the union’s developmental struggle could not be over-emphasised.
“For instance, there was the Lagos strike of 1897 which was described as the first “major labour protest of colonial period.
“We also had a general strike in mid-1945 involving over 17 labour unions and an estimated number of 200, 000 workers participated.
“The reasons for the above strikes are not different from the reasons we still call out our members today.
“It is disheartening that at 61 years, we are still begging for better welfare, decent work and tools that would enable us, the workers, do our work, ” the duo said.
Both leaders said the anniversary availed Nigerians another opportunity to assess the country including the achievement, successes, goals and aspirations.
The duo, however, hoped that lessons were learned and harped on the need make adjustments where necessary to enable the country achieve her developmental goals and fulfil her manifest destiny.
“Nigeria is well blessed with resources enough to make her rank among the first three leading economies in the world.
“Beyond the resources from the ground, Nigerians have proven to have the innate ability to create wealth.
“Our resources have not been well managed by the elites; hence the country is categorised today as the poverty capital of the world.
“This has become our tale because appointments are predicated on political affiliation, ethnicity and religion, ” the leaders said.
The duo commended the manufacturing sector operators for their resilience in spite of poor infrastructural development and the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption.
The leaders, however, said it was imperative that government at all levels also seize the opportunities offered by the crisis to change the narratives and the dynamics of the economy by providing a friendly business environment.
“No country is truly independent until it is industrialised and able to produce most of what it consumes; the naira loses its value because Nigeria is a consuming nation.
“The Federal Government must as a matter of urgency create an enabling environment that would deepen light and heavy manufacturing companies.
“To actively participate in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, government must change the narrative.
“Similarly, the Immigration and Customs Services must also up their game – check expatriate quota and influx of foreigners into the country.
“Most of them are even without the necessary documents; we are sitting on a time bomb, ” the duo said. (NAN)