By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
Mr Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, on Monday in Ilorin, asserted that Education, especially life-long learning is the corner stone for economic transformation in any nation.
Keyamo stated this in his welcome address at the Opening Programme of the 2021 Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Harmattan School at the Michael Imoudu, National Institute for Labour Studies.
According to him, education remains most important for any organisation that hopes to transform itself and the environment in which it operates.
“This for me is a delightful event. But first, I want to seize this opportunity to extol the leadership of the NLC for sustaining this educational programme despite the challenges faced by the labour movement over the years.
“Particularly with the exponential impacts of the 4th wave of industrialisation and globalization underpinned by the information communication technology (ICT) revolution,” he said.
He observed that the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic and various other socio-economic development challenges confronting countries like Nigeria has made educating, an imperative that no organisation and nation can ignore anymore.
Keyamo explained that there is high-quality evidence across the globe of how education has transformed organisations, communities, nations and societies.
The minister said countries like South Korea, China, India amongst many have leveraged education in actualising quantum leaps in development and are now well positioned to exude some influence on the trajectory of global development.
He cited the United Arab Emirate (UAE) as focusing on education to become the driver of development in the Middle East.
He extolled the NLC for the zeal to educate workers, saying that investing in education should not be just a jamboree or routine activity but be geared towards real emancipation, empowerment, gender equity, poverty eradication and inclusive growth and development.
“It is gratifying that the NLC and Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin are collaborating today in bringing this school to reality within the premises of the Institute.
“This is the kind of projects that the government and myself want to see occurring; where government agencies and institutions and other social partners work together to achieve our common goals and aspirations of equity and fair development for all,” he said.
He urged both MINILS and NLC to seek out further areas of cooperation, in training and research collaboration and also engage with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMLE) in furtherance of thematic issues around the thematic focus of this educational programme.
In his address, Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara reassured the labour unions in the state of his government’s commitment to continue to develop the civil service through regular capacity building for the workforce.
He noted that the training exercise will hone the skills of the Labour leaders in managing industrial relations.
He enjoined participants to deploy the gains from the training for maximum productivity and efficient service delivery.
“The importance of this enhancement programme cannot be overemphasised, because of its relevance to Human Capital Development.
“Our administration recognises the importance of quality human resources in the public policy process.
“We are therefore committed to train and retrain our workforce to promote and build a virile and result-oriented public servants,” he said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr Issa Aremu, the Director General of the MINILS, observed that Nigeria is confronted by various challenges.
He stated that the NLC is upholding the unionism slogan, that ‘it is better to ‘organize and not to agonize’.
“The NLC is depicting this, through the holding of this programme and its other initiatives that promotes national unity in diversity.
He added that rather than taking to name calling and to trade blames, this harmattan School portrays the NLC as firmly guided by the spirit of inclusivity, and a tolerance for differences.
Aremu urged the NLC as well as other labour stakeholders not to sit on the fence.
“Labour must speak out to support a more united and prosperous Nigeria. We call on our leaders at all levels to embrace Africanism which is fully on display by the NLC in this 2021 Harmattan School,” he said.
Delivering his keynote address, Mr Ayuba Waba, the NLC President lamented that Nigerian workers suffered a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that they deserve a social security programme that is properly structured from their employers.
He charged participants at the training and other unionists in Nigeria to embrace quality education and prepare themselves well for leadership position in the labour movement.(NAN)