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Aregbesola Extols Veteran Labour Leader, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu at 75th

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The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged Nigerian workers to imbibe the spirit of selfless service, diligence, hard-work, sincerity and integrity in whatever they do while serving their fatherland.

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He said it is imperative for the nation’s workforce to take along with it the virtues of good character while discharging their constitutional responsibilities in their various capacities.

Governor Aregbesola stated this while addressing the people during the National Symposium on 75th Birthday Anniversary of Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, organized by the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, in Osogbo.

Aregbesola who described NLC as a veritable instrument to entrench good governance said the time has come for Nigerian workers to rally round the present administration in achieving  positive change.

He further stressed  that the role of Nigeria’s workers in the history of economic sustainability and good governance could not be over-emphasized, adding that the current administration needs the support of all and sundry especially the workers to succeed.

The state helmsman  called on the leadership of NLC to extend their supports and cooperation to the government at the centre especially by establishing an harmonious relationship that will bring about the required transformation.

Aregbesola who titled his speech “A toast to the Comrade at 75th”, said Comrade Sunmonu has served Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria, Africa and the entire world meritoriously with passion, utmost dedication and exceptional spirit of commitment.

Aregbesola further described Comrade Sunmonu as a never-say-die unionist whose immense contributions towards the socio-political and economic  emancipation has aided the democratic structure in Nigeria can never be hastenly forgotten.

“This is the 75th birthday celebration of the father of contemporary unionism in Nigeria, who has been imparting excellence, selfless service to our nation’s building.

“The Comrade has lived a very momentous 75 years, every day of it filled with mission, passion, service and integrity. This makes true the undying words of late American President, Abraham Lincoln, that ‘In the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years’.

“Though his emergence as leader of NLC in 1978 was not without some trepidations in labour circles but his tenure was a mega success. He laid the foundation for the unionism of the body and created the template of their engagement with the government and sundry employers.

“It is on record that he brought many graduates and intellectuals to the NLC, a practice that has endured till today. Another legacy of his at the NLC was making the government to recognize May 1 of every year as Workers’ Day and declare it a public holiday.

“From the NLC he moved to the Organization of Africa Trade Union Unity (OATUU) in October 1986 as Secretary General where he served for 26 solid years at the organization’s headquarters in Accra Ghana, after being re-elected six times. From this base, he criss-crossed the continent of Africa, fighting for workers’ interest and negotiating a harmonious working relationship between workers and their employers.

“Comrade Sunmonu has defined labour practice in Nigeria and the African continent, imparting excellence and selfless service to unionism.

“The birthday boy has paid his dues. He has served with passion, uncommon selflessness, utmost dedication and exceptional spirit of commitment to workers’ interest, the masses welfare and the cause of democratic development not only in Nigeria but in the continent of Africa”, Aregbesola said.

Aregbesola however attributed Comrade Sunmonu to what he regarded as a good  example to the youth, saying he is an eloquent testimony to the fact that one can excel in any endeavour one is committed to in life.

He said, “Comrade Sunmonu is an exemplar of the Omoluabi spirit on the ascendancy in Osun – a culture of discipline, hard work, integrity and outstanding leadership.

“In the course of his professional duties, he has met with the high and mighty, kings and presidents, but he has remained a humble man. Except for those who knew him, people meeting him for the first time would not recognise an extraordinary man who shook nations and made leaders to tremble. He is gentle, affable, humorous and avuncular.

Governor Aregbesola revealed that Comrade Sunmonu has exhibited a great support to his administration in various capacities, saying his wealths of experience and knowledge had tremendously strengthen his government.

“In all his sojourn abroad, Comrade Sunmonu never forgot his home base. On his retirement from OATUU, he decided to relocate home. He has since been of tremendous support to our administration.

“He was the chair of the Osun Economic Summit held in 2014. He has also accepted and is serving as the chair of a committee of government and labour on the apportionment of net revenues accruing from the Federation Accounts and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the State Government of Osun to take care of salaries, pensions and other critical expenditure of government. He has been able to maintain a delicate balance of being labour advocate and the role of a father in a time of dispute.

“Comrade Sunmonu, like other icons of this state, has been God’s blessing to Nigeria, Africa and humanity in general. We wish him a very happy birthday and long life to be able to offer greater selfless service to labour unions, the State of Osun and mankind. It is my prayer that his kind will grow and multiply in the land”, Aregbesola affirmed.

Earlier, the National President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba described the 75th anniversary of Comrade Hassan Sunmonu as a very productive and fruitful leader, saying his tremendous achievements as the founding President of Nigeria Labour Congress could not be estimated.

Comrade Wadda said the history of commitment and dedication to the cause of NLC could be traced to the fundamental rules, disciplines, policies and professional ethics being enshrined and streamlined by the erstwhile NLC president.

He said, “the role of workers in the process of change requires commitment, transparency, honesty and sincerity as there is also a need to change from the old perspective to positive perspective.

“Inarguably, NLC is a role model to Nigerian politicians which has in the last 45 years provided good leadership.

“The good records made so far as has brought productive, diligent and hard-working workers in Nigeria and this has about development to the strength of workforce in Nigeria.

Speaking on how to bring sustainable transformation to our country in term of policies, economies and social live, the NLC President said what Nigeria needs at the moment is positive change that will rebrand her image in all sectors of the economy.

He commended the septuagenarian for his tireless efforts towards the genuine selfless service to mankind, adding that his contributions to nation’s building and national development can never be over-emphasized.

“Comrade Sunmonu has written his name in gold because his numerous achievements are worthy of celebration, while his indelible legacy has already set a pace for Nigeria workforce.

“When we talk of real transformation in the history of NLC, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu is the number one who actually brought about template of quality leadership that will all nurturing.

“He has distinguished himself as a unique, honest, sincere and worthy leader in various capacities which he has represented and held especially as NLC President.

“Comrade Sunmonu has written his name in gold because his numerous achievements are worthy of celebration, while his indelible legacy has already set a pace for Nigeria workforce.

“When we talk of real transformation in the history of NLC, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu is the number one who actually brought about template of quality leadership that will all nurturing today”, Comrade Wadda.

In his lecture while speaking on a topic titled “the change Nigeria needs and the role of workers in the process of change” Professor Toye Olorode advocated for positive change that can effect meaningfully in the lives of the citizenry.

He said the change that Nigerians want at the moment is beyond a political propaganda and sophistry, calling on the Federal Government to build on the acclaimed change mantra.

Professor Olorode however lauded Comrade Sunmonu for his genuineness and sincerity which according to him  brought about total transformation and all round development to the nation’s workforce.

According to him, it is comrade Sunmonu’s commitment that rescued Nigeria Labour Congress from the brutalization orchestrated by military administrators in Nigeria.

He stressed further that the exemplary leadership quality of Comrade Sunmonu actually liberated Nigeria our of economic recession as he staged several national protests to recover the nation’s wealths from the hands of fraudulent political demagogues.

He therefore called for the entrenchment of unity and peaceful co-existence among Nigerian people, adding that there is an urgent need for Nigerian government to build on the solidarity required across religious and ethnic lines as part of improving its change agenda.

In his remarks, the septuagenarian and celebrant, Comrade Hassan Adebayo Sunmonu expressed profound gratitude to Almighty God for allowing him witnessing a productive and fruithful year on earth.

He applauded Governor Aregbesola for aggressively developing the state, saying his good governance has been tremendously felt in every nook and cranny of the state.

He said, “when we talk of change, Aregbesola is the man. When we talk of development, he is the initiator. When we equally talk of changing the face of economy, Aregbesola has done a lot in this respect.

Commenting on the topic of the symposium, Comrade Sunmonu noted  that the NLC chose the topic- “the change Nigeria needs and the role of workers in the process of change” to educate and enlighten the public on the role of government to effect positive change they voted for.

He said, we are clamouring for change but failed to ask ourselves whether it is positive or negative change. Change can come in different shapes. It could be positive or negative. But what we should be encouraging our government should be the real change that will impact meaningfully in our collective lives.

“The concept of change is fundamentally built on the template of general transformation, development, growth and all round development and once these necessary values are found wanting, the society is physically and economically doomed.

“Though workers have always been the societal transformers most especially on the issue of national interest.

“But it doesn’t end there, there is a need for Nigeria labour to continuously use the power workforce to enforce the real change of the current administration.

“We must see change as a collective responsibility and work that must be done with good intents”, he stated.

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