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NLC AT 40: Challenging OBJ’s Abuse Of Power Was My Most Difficult Time As Labour Leader – Oshiomhole

A FORMER President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in this interview, takes a look at NLC in the past 40 years.
Since you left the Government House in Edo State. How has it been?
Wonderful. This is probably my fourth retirement. I retired as a textile worker, I retired as the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, then retired as the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, and now as governor of Edo State. It is a real opportunity to make up for what I call 16 years of not sleeping properly. Eight years of NLC, very turbulent years, and another eight years of not only governing Edo State, but also fighting very vicious godfathers. To be honest, I feel quite good. But people around you do not believe that you are resting. Some say you are busier now more than when you were President of NLC or even when you were governor of Edo. Well, the difference is that a lot of people come to seek my view on a couple of issues. And you know, politics is where people come to share their thoughts, and stories, rumours and so on. But those are not demanding. It is just socialising or sharing thoughts or ideas with people. But I have maintained my touch, my contacts strongly with the labour movement.
Talking about labour movement, the NLC, which you were one of the most celebrated Presidents, is 40. Looking back from the time you became actively involved and now, how do you describe the NLC, first, on its impact on workers and, second, on the Nigerian state?
Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, the founding President, laid a very solid foundation. I was inspired by his style of leadership; vocal, militant and displaying uncommon will power. As a much younger union leader in those days, I was in the Textile Union as Deputy General Secretary when Sunmonu was President. At the time NLC was inaugurated in February 1978, I had left for Oxford because I needed to further my education, equip myself because I was determined to be in trade union movement. It is good to have courage, honesty and commitment to a goal, but you also need capacity to engage, you need to be able to have the brain to articulate quite convincingly the other side on public policy, at the level of the enterprise, at the level of the industry and at the level of the economy. So, I was in school then, but I was very much concerned about what was happening at home.Read full interview here.

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