Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, Nnaji urge workers to support power sector reform
“I support privatisation; I support the reform,” Oshiomhole declared to a stunned audience of union officials who were participating in the 9th Delegates Conference of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) in Benin, the Edo State capital.
Also, the Minister of Power, Prof Bath Nnaji, urged the workers to support the reform in the interest of national development.
NUEE, comprising junior workers, is the arrowhead of union opposition to the ongoing privatisation of 17 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies.
Oshiomhole who declared the event opened, said: “Nigeria is at the threshold of total economic collapse and certainly the nation cannot continue with business as usual. But as long as we continue to have this culture of impunity where people steal and go free, our economy will remain in danger, those in power covered by immunity must be brought to justice when they leave power once they are found to have mismanaged public fund.”
The governor asked his erstwhile trade union colleagues to think through their current opposition to the reform and adopt a strategy that will benefit workers of PHCN and the Nigerian people.
“It is high time union leaders (in the sector) eschewed selfish interest and embrace public interest for public welfare. This convention must, therefore, show the true character of the union’s ideals, which among other things, includes the quality of lives of its members and the general citizenry.”
Oshiomhole singled out the Secretary General of NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero, and implored him to think first of the welfare of workers he is leading and the interest of the Nigerian people as he prosecutes his campaign of opposition.
“Ajaero, you must help Nigerians to return to a productive country. You should not look for the quick fixes but must look at the short, medium and long term. The challenge of modern times is that union leaders must now think more dynamically; must move with the times. I support this privatisation; I support the reform. But you have the right to protect the welfare agenda of the employees.”
The governor argued that what Nigeria invested in the power sector is what the people of Nigeria are harvesting now. “If we invest the right resources in the power sector, we will definitely get the right results. How long will Nigerians continue to lament the deplorable state of the power sector? The current situation has created a lot of economic difficulties, resulting in unemployment, stagnation, decay and hardship, even on PHCN workers themselves and the general public. We cannot continue to do the same things over and over again and expect a different result,” he said