By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to shelve its planned nationwide strike protest against fuel subsidy removal, saying governors are already discussing ways to mitigate the effects.
Sanwo-Olu, made the appeal on Sunday while speaking with newsmen shortly after a special “Thanksgiving Service” at the Cathedral Church of Christ in Marina, Lagos.
The thanksgiving service marked the end of activities to mark the governor’s second term inauguration.
He was accompanied by his wife Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, and wife Oluremi Hamzat.
The governor, stressed that rather than being confrontational, labour unions and Nigerians should support President Bola Tinubu in the quest to take Nigeria out of the woods, saying,”This is not the time to go on strike.”
According to him, going on strike will neither address nor resolve any issue.
“This is not the time to go on strike. Recall that all presidential candidates said the first thing they will do is remove fuel subsidy. So what has changed? What has President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said or done that is different from what others would have done?
“The president has not even spent one week in office. We need to be very patient and reason together. Let us not make the issue about politics, but let’s support this man. We should allow him to go and reflect.
“Strike will not resolve anything; it won’t address the issue. The point should be how to ensure a sustained turnaround in our economy.
“The president mentioned better wages, and we started that in Lagos in January, and I hope other states can key into it.
“We don’t need to wait for the national government, we just need to reflect on what the challenges are in the country and seek ways to resolve them.
“So I plead with the NLC to not turn the subsidy issue into a political one. The leadership should know they are leading people and so there is a need to restrain themselves.
“Let us be patient and work with the president. NNPC has said it has more than enough fuel to go round, so there is no need to heat up the polity.
“We should not get political because it is governance, and the people must see purposeful governance,” the governor stated.
Commenting on the importance of the thanksgiving service, Sanwo-Olu noted that it was important to acknowledge God’s help to individuals, state and the country as a whole, and commit the second term into God’s hand.
He added: “It is important to thank God Almighty and to acknowledge his help to all of us, as individuals, as a state, as a nation, and to also commit our second tenure to him, to ask him for direction and to place everything in his front.
“Lagosians should also expect a lot more from us. We have promised a human-centric THEMES PLUS agenda which will ensure no one is left behind.
“We want to build a better inclusive sense of governance where we will be doing a lot of hard and soft infrastructure, things that will touch the people’s lives, specifically palliatives that would bring succor and relief to our citizens in their difficult times, especially with the global economic issues.
“The people also need to understand that though, government cannot do everything, we need to be able to bring them out of poverty and speak to what their needs and yearnings are.
“So it’s a purpose human centric agenda that will ensure that no one is left behind. And we are holding ourselves accountable to that.”
Provost of the Cathedral, Rev. Adebola Ojofeitimi, earlier, gave his sermon on ‘Unity: Catalyst for Godly Possibilities’, urging the people to remain united so that things can work effectively.
“We are wired to be united for efficiency,” he said.
Thanksgiving prayers were led by State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Stephen Adegbite.
Other dignitaries at the thanksgiving service included: state All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman Cornelius Ojelabi, APC Women Leader Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, former members of the state executive council, Body of Permanent Secretaries, Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu, represented by the White Cap Chiefs, African Church Archbishop from Abuja Peter Ogunmuyiwa, among others.
Recall that the leadership of the MLC, led by it’s President, Joe Ajaero, has directed members to embark on strike on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, across the nation in protest against the subsidy removal.