NLC Mobilises for Peace Rally and Summit:Full text of Omar’s Speech

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You will recall that one of the resolutions of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at its meeting of Wednesday, August 8, 2012 in Benin City, Edo State was to confront the security challenge in the country through organizing in the second week of September in Abuja, a peace rally and summit entitled, Labour for Unity, Peace and Development.

This resolution was informed by the deteriorating security situation in spite of the measures taken by the government: the assassinations, armed robberies, bombings, cyclical communal and sectarian violence which have led to painful loss of lives, massive displacements, injurious interruption of productive activities with prospect of acute food shortages, destruction of properties estimated at billions of Naira and capital flight.

But much more worrisome are general panic in the land and calls for the dismemberment of the country largely due to concern about government’s capacity to deal with these challenges.

Deeply saddening, is the  growing perception of tacit or complicit support for some of these horrendous crimes by some of our elders who have suddenly found comfort in reduced space. To our horror, some have made bold to offer in the open, ideology, philosophy and justification for these misadventures.

This may probably provide the rationale why previous efforts by individuals, organisations and even government have not offered the needed respite, suggesting that something somewhere must have gone fundamentally wrong and if not properly addressed could do irreparable damage to our nation.

It is therefore apparently clear today that the nation needs the vision and drive of nationalistic individuals and institutions to pull the polity away from the brink of disaster and hopelessness.

One of the few surviving pan-Nigerian institutions today is the Nigeria Labour Congress. From the struggle for independence till date, it has played a leading role at critical moments in Nigeria’s history.  We believe history beckons on it once again.  Accordingly, it feels obliged once more to throw its weight on the side of efforts at finding a solution to the current challenges facing the nation, hence this Rally and Summit.

You will recall at the height of the militant activities in the Niger-Delta, the Congress did convoke a similar summit in Asaba, and the consequent application of some of the suggestions, contributions and resolutions from that summit such as amnesty, were found to be helpful.

Today, in line with this NEC resolution we are happy to invite you to this press conference, which we believe, will avail us the needed opportunity to unveil the programme and content of the summit and rally to you

In line with the above, we wish to formally inform you that our summit, entitled Labour for Unity, Peace and Development will take place as follows:

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Venue:        International Conference Centre

Time: 10:00am

The objectives of the summit are to:

  • provide a space for the exchange of ideas, information, experiences and mutual guidance towards peace, unity and security of the country;
  • facilitate a people driven re-engineering of the polity for peace, unity and security and Development;
  • develop common positions and strategies among the elite and the mass of our people so as to pursue a common vision for peace, unity, security and development;
  • examine recent happenings across the country and their consequences on the Nigerian people and their development;
  • project a strong and coherent voice towards the resolution of the current security challenges in the country;
  • showcase our belief in a united, prosperous and peaceful Nigeria which will outlive its challenges;
  • restore hope in a virile, viable Nigeria.

Lead paper will be presented by an eminent Nigerian Scholar  which will be exhaustively discussed by equally eminent scholars, statesmen and women. In order to properly diagnose our problem, effort has been made to invite participants of all ages from every sector of the economy.

In addition to discussion sessions, participants shall take a walk for peace as a practical demonstration of commitment to the peace effort.

We believe the forum will offer all of us a great chance to speak out frankly with a view to finding a common ground for peace and development.

Thank you for coming.

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