Let Us Grow The Economy, Fashola Tells NLC
Aug 11, 2008 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola Monday advised the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) not to take any action that could jeopardise the growth of the nation’s economy saying it was not in the interest of anyone to do so. Governor Fashola, who gave the advice during a courtesy call on him by the Lagos State Council of the NLC, said the Congress should rather concentrate on issues that would enable the economy to expand in order that more people would get jobs.
He particularly called for caution on the part of the Council in its plan to picket some companies in the state in its fight against casualization saying it would not serve the interest of the economy and the people that any of the remaining companies still producing in the country should shut down.
The Governor declared: “I look at our nation’s economy where it is easier and cheaper to buy finished goods imported from Europe than to produce them here and I ask myself, those who are still producing here how do they do it?” adding that one has to have a job first before being a casual worker.
He said it would be better and more beneficial for everyone to explore ways to improve the climate for production such as power supply, water supply and other infrastructural development as well as agriculture which he described as the foundation for industrialisation.
“You can win the battle and lose the war”, Fashola cautioned, adding, “As professionals, there is what is called job satisfaction. We may get all the money but have no place to express ourselves. That is why I say we have to look deeper and find ways to ventilate grievances”. He continued, “If we picket the factories that are barely surviving out of production who do we picket next? Let us put on our thinking caps now and explore ways to grow this economy. This economy must grow. It is not in anybody’s interest that the companies still producing should shut down”.
Fashola said the time has come for labour and employers of labour to turn to a common a page, page of progress, a page of sacrifice, adding that to achieve success, everybody must be ready to make sacrifices.
Recalling the effect of the last teachers’ strike on the economy especially on those who make their daily living selling small things around the schools, Fashola said “Agreed that we must fight because if we do not fight we lose. But we must choose our battle well in order not to hurt ourselves the more”
The Governor thanked Chairman of the Council, Comrade Michael Olukoya for allowing the Government to intercede in the matter concerning the teachers, saying, “We did so because of our belief that teachers and students play very critical role in our ability to develop as a state and as a nation”.
“If today we cannot see the future of the nation in these children, then I will say there is no future”, the Governor said, recalling that barely 20 years after leaving the university he was already a leader of a state. “That shows us why we must react quickly to affairs pertaining to our children”.
“We lack today because of many things we failed to do in the past. It may take time but we can get it right. The Government does not have the magic wand, we are human beings like you. Let us grow this economy first then we can make demands”, the Governor continued.
Thanking the Council for continuing understanding and cooperation with the state Government, Fashola however asked for more understanding on the part of the Council adding, “Problems do not go away as long as people exist. Problems would disappear only when humanity ceases to exist. Let’s do our best”.
Earlier in his remarks Chairman of the Council Comrade Mike Alogba Olukoya had informed Governor Fashola of the Council’s plan to picket some companies in the state in its battle against casualization saying the information was necessary in order that the State Government would not misunderstand the motive.
Comrade Olukoya also said the planned picketing was also to enforce unionisation in work places lamenting that although labour law prescribed it, “But for very selfish reasons, some exploiters of human capital denied their workers the benefit of having labour unions in their work places”.
He also requested for functional cars to aid the work of the Council He added. that what the Council has at the moment could best be called relics. The Labour leader also requested for sponsorship of members of the Council to partake in the Holy pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem.
Comrade Olukoya commended Governor Fashola for his outstanding achievement in all the developmental facets of the state especially in Education, Health, BRT, Tourism, Transportation, Housing and Beautification of the State among other things adding “the entire gamut of the social economy and cultural superstructures has played host to your well thought out solution. You have dislodged all factors that attenuate and hinder our collective forward march in the State.”
“It is very rare to find a Nigerian State governor emblemise and combine humility, industry, focus, openness, accessibility, integrity, justice, consultation, probity and accountability in government and governance”, the labour leader said adding, “your emergence as governor was therefore not coincidental, incidental or accidental but the graduation of a professional on the terrace and firmament of governance”.
Pledging the support of the entire labour union in the state Comrade Olukoya expressed the appreciation of the Council to Governor Fashola for both attending the last May Day celebration in person and the appointment of one of the Council members, Comrade Regina Iyabo Obasa as Executive Secretary for Shomolu Local Government Area saying, “From all considerations, it is an honour to the labour movement and its hyperbolically acknowledged”.