In a surprise action, the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Lagos State yesterday endorsed the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for second term in office.
The endorsement, which is coming barely six weeks to the election, according to the leadership of both unions is the first time they would be openly throwing their support to candidates in any election.
At a rally held at the Police College, GRA, Lagos, hundreds of workers thronged the venue in support.
And in another event, Governor Sanwo-Olu received hundreds of political defectors from opposition parties during the APC Lagos West rally at Federal Government College Ijanikin.
The defectors are from Democratic People’s Party (DPP) led by Are Folorunsho Owolabi, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Muideen Akinsanya and Action Alliance led by Idowu Sesi Michael.
Addressing APC supporters at Ijanikin rally, elated Sanwo-Olu, thanked the residents for trooping out in large number to show solidarity for the ruling party candidates in the Badagry division.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We have done a lot for the people of Badagry and we are here to consolidate on our achievements. I’m happy you are strongly standing with us in the last three and a half years.
“We have delivered on the rail and I’m assuring you for the second phase of the Blue Line which will be from Marina to Okokomaiko, we shall deliver it between two to three years.”
The governor expressed confidence that Badagry residents would deliver to APC in the forthcoming elections, noting “I know you will give the best votes to all our candidates.
“Don’t allow some people to deceive you, the people of Badagry are part of the government. We are together. Go to the nooks and crannies of your neighborhood and canvass votes for APC. APC is the part to beat,” Sanwo-Olu stated.
In his address at the labour rally for his endorsement, Governor Sanwo-Olu stated:”I want to recognize all the workers including those in the private sector. This is Lagos, the center of excellence. I want to say you have chosen well.
“You have come out in large number and I want to assure you that we are coming back bigger, stronger and better for the general people of Lagos State. We will ensure the value of your lives is not compromised.
“I want to thank all of you over this great endorsement. We will not take it for granted. What this tells us is that we must do a lot more. That’s when your lives and that of your children will be better. We will not disappoint you.”
He urged the workers to go out and take the campaingn to their respective neighbours, saying :”Let them know that this is the real rally because you are the workers, you are out strength.”
In his welcome address, Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters, Babatunde Williams, expressed joy over the willingness of the workers to identify with the governor.
Williams said: “I am not surprised this is happening in view of the achievements of Mr Governor. Mr Governor sir, they said you are their friends; they said you are their ally; they said since inception of your administration, workers have been smiling. It has been development galore. It is therefore not by error for workers to gather here today in total support of your second term,” he noted.
While reiterating on the achievements of Sanwo-Olu, the Governor’s aide added, “At the most critical period in the history of humanity during COVID-19 , you showed uncommon courage. You have shown capacity to deliver on set target. “
Speaking on behalf of Public Servants Joint Negotiating Council, Comrade Segun Balogun stressed the Govenor had shown love towards civil servants and that necessitated the need for the endorsement.
He said: “You have been a friend of workers. I can say it with all sense of responsibility, you have kept your promise. You promised workers would not be sacked during COVID and you kept to that promise. You have put your name in gold for being the first governor to pay above the minimum wage.
“Each time you engage labour, you always keep the interest of labour at the front burner. We have made up our minds to follow you,” Balogun said.
Lagos NLC Chairperson, Comrade Funmi Sessi also stated, “On behalf of NLC Lagos council, we all agreed during our meeting before coming out that we will openly endorse you.
“Some people might be surprised why we come out , we are not politicians. We have only been sitting on the fence but this time around we want to be part of it so that we can be part of the government. We have come out with our full chests because this Goverment has done good things for us.
“We are also endorsing Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria. We will vote for him.”
The TUC Chairman in Lagos State, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo said: “There is no need beating about the bush. You have heard it well. Each time we meet Mr Governor, he responds to us. Democracy is about inclusion.
“We have tested Mr Governor and we have found him to have listening ears and a large heart to accommodate us,” Ekundayo stated.