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Labour unions ignore Obi, pick Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu ahead 2023 election

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Ahead of the next month’s general election, the Lagos State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have snubbed the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, to endorse his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu, as their prefered choice for the poll.
The workers also picked the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is vying for re-election on the platform of APC ahead of the LP gubernatorial candidate for the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, 
promised to vote for re-election of the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, turning down recommendations of the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, to support the party’s flagbearer for the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.

They said that the choice of endorsing APC candidates and not LP was centred on the current administration’s engagement with workers and for often placing their members’ welfare as a priority in the state while the presidential candidate had supported many initiative that assisted their members.

According to them, the endorsement for the presidential candidate and the governor was a payback for the gesture they have received especially from the incumbent governor after assuming office barely four years ago in Lagos.

The workers announced their decision on Thursday during an endorsement rally tagged ‘Labour 4 Sanwo-Ou’, and held at the Police College parade ground, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos state capital.

Addressing the crowd that had gathered to endorse the governor, the Chairman, NLC Lagos State, Funmilayo Sessi, said this was the first time that labour unions in any state would come out to endorse candidates vying for political offices.

Sessi noted that, unlike previous elections in which the unions acted neutral, the 2023 election is an opportunity for the workers to take their faith into its hands, by endorsing incumbent governor, Sanwo-Olu, and his running mate in their second term re-election bid.

 According to her, unlike before, the labour movement would engage in politics this time around to vote for the governor and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
The chairman added that 60 percent of the people of the state were workers and that they have decided to back their second-term ambition in the state.
Also, Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Gbenga Ekundayo, said democracy is about inclusion adding that the governor has a listening ear and is accommodating.
Accepting the endorsement, Sanwo-Olu said he recognised the support and endorsement of both the public and private sectors, promising his government would continue to make life better and liveable for workers in the state.
The governor said his administration would not take workers in the state for granted and thanked them for the endorsement on behalf of the APC candidates.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters and Industrial, Babatunde Williams, said the Sanwo-Olu administration had been proactive in putting the welfare of workers at the front burner in the area of salary review and training among other interventions as the impact had been felt in various sectors in the state in its bid to ensure the state remains economically stable despite the  COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.
In his goodwill message, Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council, Segun Balogun said the endorsement for the re-election of the administration was in the right direction because of the laudable initiatives and achievements it has recorded especially when it has to do with workers’ welfare,
The governor’s aide added that the governor has taken his place in history as one of the most labour-friendly governor in the state.

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