Former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili on Saturday urged delegates to the forthcoming Nigerian Labour Congress’ (NLC) to elect a vibrant national president to reposition the congress.
Ezekwesili made the call at the presentation of four books written by Vice President of the NLC, Mr Issa Aremu.
She said NLC required a competent leader to provide effective leadership.
“It needs a leadership that would fight and protect the interest of workers and Nigerians’’, she said.
Ezekwesili, former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa Region, also said the 11th National Delegates Conference slated for Feb.9 to Feb.11, must be free and fair.
She said “delegates must ensure that priority is given to candidates with both intellectual capacity and welfare of workers at heart.
“Labour does not need light weight intellectual, since the problems of the society are very complex.
“Labour is an important voice in finding the solutions to the complex problems of the society and the country as a whole’’, she said.
According to her, solving societal problems requires a lot of deep thinking, analysis and empirical evidences.
“And these variables are hardly found in light weight intellectuals or shallow minds; it is time to dig deep.
“Nigerians need an NLC that will up it game so that the quality of people that represent the congress could put pressure on government to offer good governance’’, Ezekwesili said.
Ezekwesili said Nigerian workers desired improvement in quality of life.
She commended Aremu for producing quality books, saying that the contents were contributions to strengthen unionism in the country.
Malam Adamu Ciroma, former Minister of Finance and Agriculture, said the NLC must continue to provide purposeful leadership, not only to workers but the entire nation.
He called on other trade union leaders to make out time to write their own stories in order to educate the younger generations on what unionism really meant.
He said NLC must fight corruption in high places for the Nigerian workers to have all the benefits of their labour.
Mr Ayuba Waba, President, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), described the four books as `intellectual contribution to knowledge.
“This is something that is lacking in the labour sector. The documentation of thoughts and engagement that activists have had over the years is highly needed to keep up the struggle.
The author said the books were collections of trade union articles that were in line with labour objectives.
According to Aremu, the books are mostly about challenges faced by Nigerian workers.
The four books are entitled: “Reflection of Labour and Trade Unions’’, “Reflection of Industries and the Economy’’, “Reflection of Africa and Global’’ as well as “Reflection of Friends, Comrades and Heroes.’’