The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Saturday endorsed the re-election bid of Ekiti State Governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr Kayode Fayemi ahead of the June 21 governorship election in the state.
The NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, leading a delegation of the union’s Central Working Committee (CWC) and several leaders of affiliate unions on a visit to the governor in Ado-Ekiti, however, asked stakeholders, including the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that Saturday’s election is fair and credible.
Justifying his endorsement, Omar said Governor Fayemi has “performed creditably well and deserving of a second term as governor of the state,” adding: “We hope that the governor will invite us for a tea party after June 21 election, by the special Grace of God.”
The NLC President said Fayemi’s struggle in the labour movement is well known, adding that his excellent performance as Governor of Ekiti State in the last three and a half years did not come as a surprise to the union, hence the need support his second term bid.
“Your Excellency, if we choose to identify openly with you, we have very strong reasons to do so,” declared Omar, who hailed Fayemi for the peaceful atmosphere that pervade the state, the developmental strides of his administration and the attention paid to welfare of workers.
The NLC President also said that the union leadership had been under intense pressure from external bodies not to endorse Fayemi. He however added that the union refused to bow to the pressure, convinced that it was doing the right thing.
He said: “Ekiti is capable of not taking dictation from any quarters. They (the people) are going to do justice to the election. We are surprised by a lot of attention regarding our coming here to hold our routine meeting. We don’t see any reason why anyone will interfere with that. Our consolation is that whether or not an election is going to take place, we know and can always identify with people who have identified with the movement.
“We are Nigerians coming to hold our meeting and no one can harass us. Your (referring to Fayemi) antecedent in labour movement is not something people don’t know and so we have every cause to be here to identify with you.
“During the June 12 struggles, was Fayemi not a part of that struggle and challenge? Our people also moved round the capital yesterday and did not see any sign of violence or destruction. We don’t shy away from the truth.
“We believe the election will be free and non-violent if the powers that be will allow the people to freely make their choice. And no one will like to go backward after having gone this far regarding development in the state.”
Omar warned those he called ‘external forces’ against meddling in the June 21 election, noting the electorate must be free to make their choice during the poll.
At the meeting with Umar were the former NLC President, Pa Hassan Sunmonu; Deputy President, Promise Adewusi; Acting Gen Secretary, Chris Uyot; Vice Presidents Isa Aremu and Lawan Dusima, among others.
Responding, Governor Fayemi hailed the delegation for the sentiments expressed about his administration and the state. He promised to continue to meet the yearnings and aspirations of his constituency including labour.
He described the NLC endorsement of his candidature as a challenge to do more for the state and the people.
“My partisanship in the present political dispensation is a product of my past as student and pro-democracy activist. I promise that I won’t disappoint this constituency with my conduct in governance,” he said.
On fears about alleged plot to rig the election, Fayemi said: “The worst way you can incur the wrath of the people here is to wage war of rigging against them because Ekiti people will resist such. We are appealing to the labour leaders to continue to canvass one man, one vote so that whoever wins or loses can accept the outcome of the election.”
Meanwhile, the state chapters of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have also thrown their support behind Governor Fayemi’s re-election bid.
The NLC and the TUC led by their chairmen, Comrade Ayodeji Aluko and Comrade Kolawole Olaiya respectively held an endorsement rally for Fayemi at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in the state capital with thousands of civil and public servants in attendance.
The labour leaders pledged that workers in Ekiti would continue to identify with leaders who perform well in office to sustain the confidence the populace reposed in them.
The workers who staged a big rally at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado-Ekiti said they are pitching their tent with the All Progressives Congress (APC) standard bearer because they have never had it so good in the history of the state.