All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard bearer Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday promised to implement labour-friendly policies and programmes, if elected in next year’s election.
He said his administration will make fiscal and monetary policies to work for workers, urging them to pitch their tent with him during the poll.
The former Lagos State governor described himself as the most competent candidate with a track record of good governance.
He dissected the economy from the point of view of a financial surgeon, promising to re-enact the feat that has stood Lagos out as the fifth largest economy in Africa.
Unveiling an eclectic approach to problem solving, Tinubu promised to reposition the economy, tackle the rot in the education sector, halt unemployment and guarantee comprehensive welfare package for workers.
The eminent politician spoke during a Townhall Meeting with Organised Labour at Chida Hotel, Conference Centre, Abuja, on his plans for the country, particularly the workforce.
At the session, where the ‘Tinubu-Shettima Action Plan for a Better Nigeria,’ was dissected, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba and Trade Union Congress(TUC) President Festus Osifo presented a charter of demands to the flagbearer.
Tinubu was accompanied by egg heads, including his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara) and James Faleke, Secretary of the Campaign Council.
Former NLC Deputy President and Director of Labour Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Comrade Isa Aremu, who set the tone for the engagement, told the Labour leaders and workers that the task before them and Nigerians was to choose a truly committed, tested and trusted candidate, who can protect their interest, fight poverty, industrialise Nigeria, provide decent jobs, and guarantee good pay.
Aremu maintained that Tinubu is the best to deliver on the priorities of the workers.
Exuding confidence, the APC candidate, who intermittently spoke off his written address, drew attention to his antecedent as former Lagos State governor, who transformed the Centre of Excellence.
He said he is vying for President to resolve the challenges of unemployment, lack of credit system to allow workers own houses, poverty, problems of education, and weak industrial base.
Urging the workers to choose wisely, Tinubu said: “Today, the questions you all you must ask yourselves are these: who can be trusted to accomplish all of these? The man who has done it before, or the man whose most lasting achievement as Vice President is the corrupt sale of national assets to his friends and cronies?
“Who has the better plan? The man whose blueprint guided the emergence of Lagos State as fifth largest economy in Africa or the man whose greatest pride is the amount of money he managed to bury in sand while his state’s infrastructure decayed and its workers suffered endless hardship? The choice is yours.
“I have always been and will continue to be a progressive democrat. In my worldview, government has a cardinal responsibility to work, not only with business, but also with labour to ensure that all constituent parts of our society are afforded their fair share of rewards without taking on undue hardship.”
Tinubu drew a similarity between his struggle for a better Nigeria and the battle of the Labour leaders for adequate welfare package for their members.
He pointed out that, like the labour leaders, he has been in the forefront of fighting for good governance, recalling that he was detained and eventually forced into exile because of his belief.
Tinubu stresed: “As Organised Labour, you have been at the forefront of the workers’ rights movement in Nigeria, championing economic fairness and the welfare of the average person, the weak and the forgotten.
“You have also been involved in the struggle for democracy and political rights. Your collective efforts breathe life into the democratic rights and economic ideals enshrined in our constitution.
“I can speak fondly of your impact on our nation because of my personal history on the frontlines of the social justice movement.
“I may be running for president now, but I was not always in this position. Long before I started running for the presidency, I was running away from military dictators angered by my important role in protests against them and their efforts to vanquish our democratic aspirations.
“The defining moment of my public life came during Nigeria’s struggle for democracy and my membership in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) movement.
“I have dedicated my entire being to that cause. I was detained, then was forced into exile because of my refusal to accept anything less than a government based on the proposition that the will of the people is sovereign and should reign over armed might and imposition.
“I believe that those assembled here today share the same ideals of progressive and democratic good governance. I have spent my political life advocating for the rights and interests of ordinary Nigerians as you also do. We have long been fellow travellers on the same road. I hope that we shall continue as friends and brothers.”
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Tinubu said his administration would make the fiscal and monetary policies work for workers and Nigerians so they can have a good life.
He promised to pursue a programme of industrialisation to give more people better paying jobs, while also opening doors to more emerging sectors for younger ones to harness.
Tinubu said: “My Action Plan for a Better Nigeria, sets out a vision of opportunity, social justice and prosperity for all. I seek a Nigeria where sufficient jobs with decent wages give people the chance to live better lives. Where the private sector thrives, we will not disrupt it. However, where the private sector cannot do it alone, my government will take the lead in lending a helping hand.
“For young Nigerians, my goal will be to open the doors wide to emerging sectors such as the digital economy, entertainment and culture, and tourism. Specific policies will empower women and young people to become more active in our nation’s leadership.
“Our industrial policy will help Nigerian businesses manufacture, create, and invent more of the goods and services we require and to export more of those products across the globe. We will modernise and expand public infrastructure to create jobs, develop skills and spur rapid growth across all economic sectors, giving real opportunity to those who previously only dreamed of it.”
He also promised to run a government that would protect Nigerians and their property, strengthen the national security architecture to end terror, kidnapping, banditry, and all other forms of violent extremism and bring policing and the police closer to the communities they serve.
Tinubu promised to foster a closer partnership with Organised Labour where dialogue on major policy issues and cooperation will become the order of the day.
The Deputy Director-General of the APC PCC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, hailed Tinubu’s Action Plan, saying it will bring back dead industries like Kaduna Textile that once employed over 4000 workers.
He said the support of labour and the civil society for any candidate should be premised on the flagbearer’s capacity to implement sound social and economic policies that will make life better for the working families in Nigeria.
The former Edo State governor said Tinubu is the best candidate for the workers to adopt because of his antecedents as a successful governor in Lagos.
NLC President Wabba, who presented the workers’ charter of demands to Tinubu, said there is need for a total war on corruption.
He said corruption has almost destroyed the social and economic fabrics of the private and public sectors, adding that it is the reason Nigeria has not made progress.
Wabba stressed: “In Nigeria, our problem is people problem and we must have a government that will prioritise the fight against corruption. This is a key demand of Labour. We also need government that will make social and economic justice a priority,” he said.
On corruption, Tinubu said his administration would have a zero-tolerance to corruption by strengthening anti-corruption agencies.
The candidate condemned those receiving stolen crude, saying if there is no receiver, there will be no supplier.
Tinubu said if elected, he would ensure maximum deployment of technology to monitor, protect pipelines and block theft.