Osifo emerges TUC’s new president
Mr Festus Osifo has been elected as the new President General of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC.
With his election, he’ll be at the helm of affairs of the labour centre for the next three years.
Osifo emerged the preferred candidate at the 12th Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the Congress which held in Abuja on Tuesday.
He is also the National President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria PENGASSAN.
Announcing the results, the returning officer, Shehu Mohammed said that a total of 728 delegates participated in the election with Osifo pulling 688 votes to defeat his opponent, Oyikan Olasanoye who polled 18 votes while twenty-two votes were declared invalid.
Osifo who assumed office as President of PENGASSAN on August 28, 2020 had previously served amongst others, as PENGASSAN Producers Forum Chairman, between 2016 to 2018.
The new TUC President is a member of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) and Society for Petroleum Engineers (SPE).
In his acceptance speech, Mr Osifo vowed to fight for the welfare of the masses as well as the protection of the interest of every Nigerian worker.
He commanded the past leaders of the Congress for laying “a solid foundation on which the body thrives and vowed to sustain the vision”.
The new President also promised to carry everyone along in his quest for a greater TUC while also pledging to “initiate a platform to placate all aggrieved comrades”.
Unity of Workers
At the opening ceremony of the conference, The TUC was urged to do allow it can to ensure that election does not divide the unity of workers.
The call was made by the pioneer President of the TUC Dr Peace Obiajulu while addressing the Delegates.
She said that organised labour must come together to use their numerical strength to redirect the cause of the working class in Nigeria in particular and by extension the downtrodden in the country.
In his address, the immediate past President General of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, called on the Federal Government to review salary and retirement age of all core civil servants in the country.
The former President said that the salary review was necessary to narrow the gap between civil servants’ emoluments and those in other segments of the public service.
“The Federal Government during negotiation at the last new National Minimum Wage promised to review but has reneged.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to direct the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation to step action in that regards.
“Similarly, what is good for the geese is also good for the gander is an age-long dictum that is still as relevant as it was centuries ago.
“The President Mohammadu Buhari during the 2020 World Teachers Day increased the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years and also reviewed upward their length of service from 35 to 40 years. We covert such gesture”, he said.
Pension and Salaries
He also expressed worry over the huge number of states that were still owing pension, salaries and allowances in arrears after collecting refund, bailout funds, budget support fund and the Paris debt refund.
Olaleye described, the claim by the governors that they had no money to pay, whereas they had money to pay their predecessors and also fund their own interest as a “reckless lifestyle”.
“We condemned it and demand that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission(ICPC) investigate and bring the governors to book.
“It is our thought that paying retirees their entitlement will assist to curb corruption because when people know that they will get their entitlements when they retire, it will check stealing.
“For those of them withholding the contributory pension deductions from workers salaries without remitting same to their Pension Fund Administration (PFAs), we warn that it is illegal and attracts some penalties”, he said.
The former President also spoke on other burning national issues like the state of the nation’s economy, the oil and gas sector, better welfare packages for workers among others.
The theme of the conference was “the Working Class Amidst The Challenges of National security, Unemployment and Democratic Development”. (VON)