ALHAJI Najeem Yasin, the man who turned around the face of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), has bowed out as the most successful president of the Union and handed over to Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, the immediate past treasurer of the union.
Participants at the 9th quadrennial national delegates conference of the NURTW held in Abuja poured encomiums on the former president for changing the fortunes of the members of the union, previously known for thuggery to a group of educated and respected people.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha commended the leadership of the union led by Comrade Yasin for changing the fortunes of the drivers, and urged the new executive to build on the successes of the outgoing executive.
The SGF, who was represented by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, said “it is good that your union has followed the healthy path in changing the leadership at the national, zonal and local government levels without rancour.
“I wish to also acknowledge the enormous contributions of NURTW to our national development, especially in providing employment to our teeming youths, educating and chastising commercial drivers on safety and organising orderliness and other activities in our motor parks across the country.
“The union, I understand, also fights poverty by providing loans to small and medium transport business operators. I am glad to inform you that government on its part is doing all that is necessary to give policy direction and guildlines as well as provide conducive environment for the transport industry to smoothly operate and thrive.”
He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to repositioning the transport sector through the provision of enabling environment for the sector to operate and thrive.
The SGF noted that the present administration had invested so much in road construction and rehabilitation, aimed at repositioning “the transport sector for inclusive socio-economic development, peace and security of the country.”
“I want to also assure you that this administration will continue to commit a reasonable chunk of our income in the provision of safe and smooth world class road network..”
He reassured the union that government would continue to strengthen the unity of trade unions through constant consultations and collaboration, as well as to provide policy direction and guidelines for the smooth operation of the union.
Mustapha enjoined the NURTW to partner with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in ensuring that drivers obey road signs and regulations for the safety of all road users.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, expressed satisfaction with the level of peace and industrial harmony prevalent in the road transport sector, suggesting that the union’s leadership had fully embraced the tenets of decent work, which include sustainable employment, rights at work, dialogue and workplace protection.
“These key pillars of decent work are the bedrock of industrial peace and harmony,” he added.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, William Alo, Ngige pledged the Ministry’s continued support of the Union, and solicited the deepening of relationship and cooperation between the two.
The Minister described the Transportation sector as critical for the efficient running of trade and investment within the country and across borders. “The Transportation sector is critical for the success of Nigeria’s economy and the NURTW is one of the key stakeholders driving the economic growth of the nation”, he added.
He encouraged the Union to always engage in social dialogue and collective bargaining to resolve disputes, as “the era of adversarial unionism has gone, and unions all over the world are now supporting and engaging the government to move their various countries forward.”
He congratulated the new national officers of the Union that would be elected and inaugurated in the course of the Conference, and urged them to work together in harmony to achieve the goal of the Union for the interest of members and the country.
Also, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, acknowledged the significant role which NURTW had played and continued to play in the socio-economic affairs of the nation, particularly by enhancing trade and commercial activities.
He lauded the Union for acquitting itself creditably in spite of all odds and enjoined them to support government, particularly in the fight against insecurity, by providing information to government on criminal activities.
The Information Minister also gave the assurance of Government’s continued support and provision of critical infrastructure to enable the Union discharge its duties.