Abuja – As the 11th National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) prepares to elect a new president, a cross section of delegates expressed mixed feelings over Waheed Omar’s eight years tenure.
Ome of the delegates, who spoke with newsmen have described the last eight years of the congress as flourishing, while others alleged sharp drop in the struggle for workers’ welfare.
Mr Bummi Ogunkolade, the Senior Assistant General -Secretary of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), said “Omar left an indelible mark in the sand of time.’’
Ogunkolade said Omar touched the lives of workers positively with some of his projects.
“I think the comrade tried his best and I believe his best was good enough for the congress, Nigerian workers and for the nation at large.
“We must not run away from the fact that he came in and stepped into very big shoes left by one of our finest, Adams Oshiomhole.
“We were all witnesses to his ingenuity to get the Federal Government to approve minimum wage for Nigerian workers.’’
He, therefore, urged all aspirants to build on the foundation already laid by the outgoing president.
Also, Mr Ibraheem Khaleel, the President of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), said Omar served as a compass for Nigerian workers.
According to him, the outgoing NLC boss’s administration was not riotous but remained persistent on issues that were of benefit to workers and the entire country.
However, Mr Igwe Achese, the President of NUPENG, said Omar’s tenure was not as vibrant as that of his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, adding that the congress needed to be reawakened to its duties.
He said “If you compare the role of the NLC in the past with what obtains now you will agree with me that the standard has dropped.
“There is quick need to tackle the issue of under-employment, employment generation and insecurity in work places and across the country.
“NLC has failed to take definitive positions on these important national issues.’’
He said that under Omar’s leadership, the congress failed to bridge the gap between it and the civil society, required to put government on its toes.
Achese said NLC was also expected to play the role that could have positively impacted workers, adding that NLC was not just a pressure group.
Also Mr Sunday Alhassan, the President, National Union of Posts and Telecommunication Employees (NUPTE), said the Nigerian workers deserved better leadership.
“Omar has done his best and his best may not be good enough but then in the labour movement, it is not a one man activity and that is why it is a movement.
“All hands must be on deck to be able to salvage the situation in the new dispensation.
“I will say that there are areas that some industrial unions are not carried along and are not satisfied with the leadership over the past eight years.’’
He then called for inter-union solidarity, saying “an injury to one is an injury to all.
“When a worker has a challenge and the congress does not rise to the occasion, it becomes an issue.
“We were confronted with plethora of problems in the last eight years and some are yet to be solved.’’