•Why Buhari shouldn’t go for foreign medical check
Several years after the Labour Party was formed by Nigerian trade unions through their apex body, the Nigerian Labour Congress, to be a viable platform for political contest and good governance in the country, the party has not really made any appreciable impact on the polity. Indeed, the defection of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, the only state governor from its fold, the party’s fortunes appear to have worsened.
In this interview, the Labour Party Chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Salami, speaks on the party’s problems and other matters in the polity. Excerpts:
By Joseph Erunke
Would you say the Nigerian workers have fared well under democratic rule?
No, the Nigerian workers have not fared well under democratic rule because we have the problem of leadership. Those in the leadership of the NLC are now trade union traders. Go to the NLC, from the general secretary to all those workers particularly; it is now that with Waba’s emergence as NLC president that he would put his patriotism to workers’ benefit. But all along, his predecessor never cared for workers and that is why he was never celebrated and will never be celebrated. The workers will regain their lost glory and vibrancy with the coming of Comrade Ayuba Waba.
What is responsible for the lethargy of the Labour Party?
Well, we have never as a party, contested for presidency of this country since our formation.
What about contest for state governorship?
The situation with us in the Labour Party is that we are a bit unfortunate. Our governorship candidates came from areas where rigging is part of the lives, system and arrangement of the people of the areas. That is why right from time, we believe that the National Assembly elections, Governorship and House of Assembly Elections were never credible and that is why we are at the tribunals now.
I didn’t hear you complain about the presidential election, does that mean that the presidential election was credible?
We did not contest for presidential election. The man who wears his shoe knows where it pinches and he has told us that it is not pinching him. So, I won’t be holier than the pope.
Did the defection of Governor Mimiko affect you in Labour Party?
If Mimiko had remained and spent the money we are sure that he spent on PDP on even three candidates of the Labour Party, we would have at least have three additional candidates by today. But he believed so much, his soul, his mind and life were in the PDP and he left the Labour Party. But I will boldly say here that his leaving the Labour Party never affected us in any way.
What are your expectations from the incoming Buhari administration?
What I will say here is that the APC people who clamoured for change, who told Nigerians they wanted change and campaigned on the platform and basis of change, Nigerians have given them the authority and the mandate to come out with the changes. Let nobody now begin to tell us that he cannot perform miracle, because they told Nigerians that when they come, they would perform miracle. We will not expect Buhari to go abroad for any medical treatment. Our health system must be properly put in place, he must focus attention on it. Let them not tell us that they cannot provide jobs for our teeming youths, let them not tell us that the security lapses will continue in any manner, since they told us that they would perform miracle.
Talking about health now, do you think the incoming administration of Buhari will be able to fix the health sector to the extent that public office holders, using himself as example, will not go abroad for medical treatment?
There are certain things that we expect from Buhari to do urgently. Health is one, so that our people will not go abroad for treatment again. He can do it, he told us he can do it. We have the resources to do it. We have the material and human resources to do it. So, we believe he can do it if he wants to do it. Secondly, on the issue of corruption, Buhari has no excuse not to fight corruption headlong. He must first fight this corruption from those who surround him.
The Labour Party, since its formation, has not really fielded any presidential candidate for elections in the past, would you still follow this path in the 2019 presidential election?
No, we won’t go into alliance with anybody any longer. The National Executive Committee of our party has already taken that decision that we are not going into alliance with any political party in future.