By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Few days ago, members of the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, FOBTOB, gathered at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to hold their 14th National Delegates’ Conference, to among others, elect new leaders to run the affairs of the association in the next three years.
The event which afforded the association the opportunity to take stocks and set agenda for the future, attracted among others, government officials, employers in the industry, retired and active unionists including past leaders of the association as well as delegates across the country.
In his valedictory speech, former President of the association, Quadri Olaleye, pleaded with the Federal Government to meet with employers in the food and beverage sector to discuss how to move the sector forward and find lasting solution to the problem of de-industrialisation of the country.
He lamented the devastating effect of Covid-19 on the sector, lamenting: “It was very unfortunate that despite the vantage position of this industry to our economic sustenance, it has not received 10 per cent of the attention given to other sectors of the economy. The production cost has gone up but nothing has been done in terms of financial support and tax relief by the government to cushion the effects of this. Rather, we are subjected to different bans ranging from accessibility of forex to import raw materials to forced backward integration. We are not opposed to backward integration in any form but its implementation was ill-timed as it has led to massive redundancy in our industry.”
Olaleye who is also the President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, lamented that from 2015 till today, no fewer than 12 factories had closed down. The factories include “Bendel Brewery Limited, Danico West Africa Limited, Jos International Breweries Limited, Pal Breweries Plc, Port Harcourt Flour Mills Limited, Scoa Foods Limited, Standard Biscuit & Agro Products, Jos , UTC Foods Plc, Vitamalt Plc and Ranona Limited.
“It is our hope that the government would wake up from the snail speed approach to governance since governance is a serious business for serious-minded people. The government must urgently start addressing the issue of growing unemployment , insecurity, and the general infrastructural decay in our nation. We want to use this medium to draw the attention of the government to the food sector in particular, and we request that the government meets with our Employers’ Association for engagement on how to move the food sector forward and a means of finding a lasting solution to the problematic issue of de-industrialisation of the country.
Oyibo emerges President
Meanwhile, members of the association have unanimously elected Jimoh Oyibo of Intercontinental Distillers Limited, Ota, Ogun State, as FOBTOB President.
Oybo was elected alongside 13 others to run the affairs of the association for the next three years.
While Adebayo Aderogba was elected Deputy National President, Bunmi Adesarya, emerged National Treasurer.
Similarly, Lanye Yasuff, Christopher Amaechi and Naziru Musa Bichi, were elected Vice- Presidents, Western Zone, Eastern Zone and Northern Zone, respectively.
In the same vein, Makinde Solomon, Onyeabor Nwachukwu and Obot Asuquo, were elected Trustee Northern Zone, Trustee Western Zone, and Trustee Eastern Zone, respectively.
Also, Buhari Isiaka, Sunday Obozua, and Mahdi Mohammed were equally elected Ex-Officio Western Zone, Ex-Officio Eastern Zone and Northern Zone. Iyeye Peter remains the acting General Secretary.