I Fought Tinubu Eyeball-To-Eyeball As Governor Over Workers’ Welfare And He Sacked Me – Akele | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I Fought Tinubu Eyeball-To-Eyeball As Governor Over Workers’ Welfare And He Sacked Me – Akele

Posted: Jul 9, 2016 at 10:08 am   /   by   /   comments (0)




Comrade Ayodele Akele, the National Secretary of the National Conscience Party (NCP), has revealed how he fought former Governor Bola Tinubu eyeball-to-eyeball and was subsequently prematurely retired from the Lagos State civil service by the state government.

Comrade Akele, who spoke exclusively with Independent, said that as a labour leader and the then Chairman of the Civil Service Workers’ Union (CSWU), Lagos State Chapter, and Chairman of the state’s Joint Action Committee (JAC) of labour, he refused to be a bought over by any administration in the state, hence he was always at loggerheads with then Governor Tinubu.

The activist turned politician, who was answering questions on the current situation of the Nigerian workers, revealed that when he was an active unionist, he never took tea or had lunch with government officials during negotiations over workers’ welfare.

Akele maintained that because he could not betray the workers, he also rejected official gifts and favours such as Christmas gifts and money, or refused to travel on pilgrimages, tours and training programmmes on the government’s ticket.

His no-nonsense attitude, he stressed, made him to always fall out with the former governor whenever they had meetings together, as he was always looked at with suspicion and was never in the officials’ good books.

The veteran trade unionist accused the present labour leaders of being insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian workers, hence they pay lip service to their roles as workers representatives.

Akele stressed: “The condition of the Nigerian worker? I weep for the Nigerian workers. They have not had it so bad. I pity them. But, I blame the leadership of Labour. When I was a labour leader in Lagos, you cannot remove a dime from workers’ salary.

“The leadership of Labour in this country has compromised. Too many things are being offered them and they take. Gratuities, Christmas gifts, allocations to go on Christian and Muslim pilgrimages are given to Labour leaders.”

He maintained that once the trade union leaders accept offers from governments, they are bound to comprise and can no longer act in the interest of the workers they claim to represent.

Akele stressed the need for a revolution in the nation’s Labour movement if the fate of the Nigerian workers would improve, even as he urged the workers not to sit on the fence as some people must pay the price if they would enjoy better remuneration for their services.

Akele added: “During my time, when I had meetings with then Governor Bola Tinubu, I never ate there. I never allowed myself to be settled. I am a qualified and Chattered Quantity Surveyor. My name is in the register of Quantity Surveyors in this country. I always told this to Tinubu when we met.

“The way a labour leader takes himself, that is how the government will take him. The labour leaders in Nigeria are enticed with a lot of honorarium. I never took it when I was a labour leader. Nigerian labour leaders are greedy and are easily enticed.

“They tried it when I was a labour leader, but I never accepted. Now, they accept vehicle gifts bought by governments. Where then is the labour autonomy and independence? Today, the Labour movement has been paralysed by government and politicians.

“They now live ostentatious lives. They ride Jeeps, accept money from governments and politicians who settle them whenever there is a crisis. Tinubu sacked me because I refused to compromise.”

Akele lamented that the condition of the Nigerian worker had become worse in the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, even as he maintained that the N18 million minimum wage had become obsolete and should have been reviewed long ago.

According to him, the minimum wage cannot even take care of the workers’ transportation within a month not to talk of other basic necessities like food and housing, adding that the government should accept the Labour demand for N56,000 minimum wage without debate.

He stated: “Before, there used to be housing allowances, transport allowances, etc, stated clearly in pay slips. Now, there is no more pay slips. They just give them (workers) text messages without indicating anything. That is why governors can threaten to sack everybody. Workers are now like sheep without shepherds. It is very unfortunate.

“Across the world, there is wage review every year, or every two or three years. It is only in Nigeria that the minimum wage will remain the same for five years while government officers live in opulence. Where is the ‘Change’ the APC is talking about?

“This is the area Buhari should look into; the minimum wage. The labour leaders are insensitive. I blame them for the plight of the Nigerian workers today. The labour leaders are no longer accountable to the workers.

“There must be a revolution in the Labour Movement if the fate of the Nigerian workers will improve. The workers must not sit on the fence. Some people must pay the price.”