GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, has given an Excellent Performance Award, EPA, by the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees, NUFBTE.
At a Pre-National Executive Council, NEC, Award/Gala Nite, held in Asaba, Delta State, the leadership of the union, said Comrade Oshiomhole was given the award for not only delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Edo state in less than two of his administration, but also turning the state into a huge construction site.
Comrade Oshiomhole, the immediate past President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, was born on April 4, 1953, and hails from Iyamoh in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.
The drive for survival took himÂ to theÂ city where at a very young age, he came to work at Arewa Textiles, Kaduna, the then capital of the Northern region.
Being very young and his littleÂ frame put him at a great disadvantage as corporate oppression and bullying from colleagues made life a bit difficult for him. Comrade Oshiomhole said, these experiences, rather than cow him, toughened him and prepared him for the task ahead.
Barely two years in the factory, he was made the Branch SecretaryÂ of the local union. Earning workers confidence,Â he was made the State Secretary of the workers unionÂ In quick succession, he became the Assistant National Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria NUTGTWN, Deputy National Secretary and General Secretary of the Union.
He realised early in life that the politics and economics of labour would change dramatically with time and any union leader who hoped to be relevant would have to fortify himself with education. He took his own advice in 1977 by enrolling at the famous Rusking College, Oxford, United Kingdom, majoring in Labour Economics and Industrial Relations.
Oshiomhole won the best overseas student award. Ten years later,1987 precisely, he was at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies , NIPSS, Kuru, where he earned for himself an mni.Â In between and after, Oshiomhole participated in a series of national and international courses on Labour and industrial relations to further equip him for the task ahead.
In the late 80â€™s, heÂ emerged as Deputy President of NLC and Chairman, Economic and Educational Committee of NLC from 1988 to 1994. He led the NLC team on a number of negotiations with the Federal Government.
The military seizure of the movement and the deliberate making of laws to oust the eligibility of the Oshiomholes of this world created both a lull and distraction. However, this was to change with the coming to power of General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) who created a leveling-playing field for all contestants to the presidency of the congress.
In January 1999, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole became the fourth President of NLC after a landslide victory at the polls.
In the fullness of time these popular struggles will be chronicled but worth mentioning here are the 2000 to 2005 massive civil protests against arbitrary increase in prices of petroleum products, which he led. This earned him the Man of the year, in the year 2000 by The Punch Newspaper and other national papers had since honoured him with same award.
Consequently, hundreds of communities and organisations have approached him with offers of chieftaincy and professional titles which he politely turned down with one or two exceptions, owing to reasons well beyond his control like that of the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo state, which honoured him on April 29, 2006, with a Doctorate degree in Law. As a true, Comrade, he has insisted that he be addressed as Comrade and not the Doctorate title.
Comrade Oshiomhole has served the nation in various capacities but worth mentioning are the following. He was Member, Salaries and Wages Commission (1991-1994); Member, Vision 2010 Committee (1996 – 1997 ); Member, National Council of Nigeria Vision (1997 – 2005 ); Member, Constitutional Debate Co-ordinating Committee; Member, National Anti- AIDS Campaign (2001- 2002 ); Chairman, Board of Directors, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (2000 – 2005).