BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
NIGERIAN Owei Lakemfa, was yesterday in Algiers,Algeria, elected Secretary General of Organisation of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU, the continent, apex workers’ body. Comrade Lakemfa, a trade unionist, journalist, Labour historian, human rights activist and immediate past scribe of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, succeeds the founding president of the NLC, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu.
He was elected Secretary General by forty three African countries at the 10thCongress of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU)
12 other officers were elected into different positions for a four-year term including Professor Ibrahim Ghandur ofSudan, who was elected President.
Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, said the 10thcongress held between December 1 to 7, 2012, was with the theme: “Pan-Africanism andAfrica’s Socio-Economic Development.”
The Congress which also featured pre-Congress workshops was attended by 43 African countries.
In his acceptance speech, the new OATUU’s the Secretary General, said among others, “we are committed to the unity and solidarity of workers in the continent; this will require discouraging further fragmentation of national labour centres and the encouragement of united actions and unity amongst national labour centres with the ultimate aim of merging them into stronger organisations that can withstand internal and external pressures as well as defend the working people.
We also pledge to promote women and youth workers as that is a sure way of building a formidable labour movement in Africa.
Another major objective we are committed to is the fast tracking ofAfrica’s economic integration, increase in inter-African trade and the adoption of basic needs development programmes as alternative to the ruinous neo-liberal economic policies. Also, we will work for the consolidation of people- empowered democracy inAfrica.”
“On the international arena, we pledge, in accordance with the OATUU commitment to international co-operation to work assiduously for the unity of the international labour movement.
We shall continue in the OATUU principles and traditions of struggling on the side of all oppressed people and nations denied their right to nationhood like the Western Sahara (SADR) andPalestine, or people whose fundamental right to live in peace without harassment as in the case ofCuba.
Comrades, apart from soliciting your individual and collective support , we ask that you pray for the success of this new leadership because we will like to be worthy successors to our predecessors.”