The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said welfare of workers and pension of the retirees will be the priority of his government if elected.
Sanwo-Olu said no worker in the state would be denied his lawful benefits, promising that the proposed minimum wage of N30,000 would be fully implemented by his administration.
The APC candidate spoke at an interactive session held by the organised labour union, including Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC), National Union of Teachers (NUT), and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), among others.
Sanwo-Olu, who was accompanied to the meeting by his running mate, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said his government would not be harsh on workers. He said his ambition to govern the state was anchored on the objective to deliver a Lagos that would be greater than the current level of development.
While answering questions posed to him by the workers, Sanwo-Olu spoke on how his government would solve the notorious Apapa gridlock, which the workers said had contributed to low productivity and ill-health. The APC candidate explained that work had been ongoing on the construction of a parking lot by the Federal Government for the heavy trucks that ply the route, pointing out that his government would re-visit the plan to create state-controlled parking lot for the trucks.
He said: “My running mate and I have met with the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, who assured that the ministry is meeting with Dangote Group that took up the construction of the Apapa Highway. As a way of proffering lasting solution to the gridlock; when we form the next government, by the grace of God , we will bring back the idea of industrial park for these trucks. Rather than obstructing the road while waiting for their turn, the truck drivers can go there and park their vehicles.”
Sanwo-Olu said his government would consider introducing a housing scheme in partnership with the organised labour, noting that the scheme would be beneficial to both the government and the workers. He stressed that all workers, irrespective of level, deserved better welfare and living condition.
Responding to the workers’ concern raised on the difficulty in getting Certificate of Occupancy from the government, Sanwo-Olu promised that his administration, if elected, would review the process of the issuance of the Certicate of Occupancy, with the aim to remove the red tape that is slowing down the process.
He assured the workers that his government would improve transportation in the state, noting that the capacity of ferry service plying the waterways would be strengthened to complement that road transportation and reduce travel time.
His government, Sanwo-Olu said, will not discontinue the quarterly meeting which the governor usually has with a joint workers’ congress, while also promising that he would sustain the Office of Special Adviser on Labour Matters.
Lagos NLC chairman, Comrade Idowu Adelakun, described Sanwo-Olu as “a straightforward person”, saying he had no doubt the APC candidate would not disappoint the workers.
He said: “Lagos has been consistent in paying the workers’ salaries early. We want the next government in the state to continue with this method in order to win continuous support of the workers.”
His TUC counterpart, Francis Ogunremi, described Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat as friends of workers, urging them to improve the welfare of members of the labour unions.
There were leaders of other workers’ union at the meeting, including ULC chairman, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo.