05 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — In spite of the alleged repeated attempts to stop him from contesting election in the forthcoming National Delegate Conference(NDC) of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Dahiru Abubakar, on Friday declared his interest to contest for the position of President General of MWUN with fun-fare in Lagos amidst cheer by his supporters and well-wishers.
Dahiru rolled out a ten –point- agenda for the nation and the maritime industry, calling on delegates to the conference to cast their votes for him. MWUN is composed of Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) workers, dockworkers, members of staff of shipping companies and seamen as well as workers of National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA).
In his declaration speech he promised to work with the government to achieve maritime and economic policies of the nation, adding “ we shall protect the interest of workers by helping the government to create sustainable employment opportunities and help develop the inland waterways, and cabotage trade”.
Dahiru further promised that if voted in, MWUN shall form a formidable collaboration with Nigerian Navy and other relevant government security apparatus to safeguard the nation’s waterways, adding that “ we shall help ensure that the relevant maritime protocols, conventions and treaties are domesticated and put to practice”.
Observing that the Union’s revenue profile is on continuous tumble, he promised to create a robust business enterprise for the MWUN to reduce its dependence on check-off dues, while raising the hope of the tally clerks and onboard security men that MWUN would engage the government to discuss the pending a negotiation with the government.
According to him,” Twenty years ago, four unions came together under MWUN to essentially protect the workers’ interest and their welfare packages ensured as well as facilitate a trade for the growth of the economy. The Union, no doubt, has evolved over the years with the tides of government’s policies under different president-generals, who have carried the vision in successions.
“ But never has the future of the Union being threatened in history than under this present leadership of Comrade Tony Nted. These threats are an admixture of internal and external forces. On one hand, the impact of government policies on private sector businesses is spurring continuous workers’ lay-off in organisations and as a result, the financial base of the Union is fast shrinking, but we have not moved with the time to secure our future. On the other hand is our internal leadership of exclusivity, which has created divisions within the Union, thereby burying the basis of unionism which is solidarity.
“ We now painfully discuss, “I” and not “We” as the basis for statutory leadership delivery. Painfully, comrades are reminded of their ethnic blocks in service delivery, negotiations on behalf of the workers are not just treated as sacred but are skewed against them, more often than not. Our constitution is constantly under attack and breach. Simply put, the soul of MWUN has departed, workers have lost the power and the future very bleak.
“However, Comrade Nted will also be remembered for achieving a relative industrial harmony in the sector, capacity building for workers both local and international. The essence of leadership is service delivery, I therefore hereby offer myself for the leadership of MWUN as the President-General in the forthcoming National Delegate Conference(NDC) in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
“Here I am, send me”. With all humility, I declare that I am your messenger. Let’s join hands to reclaim our power as MWUN, where solidarity speaks, where justice and equity occupy a large space, where our future is insured and secured, where honour and dignity of labour are revered.
“Given the mandate on March 17, in Uyo, our vision of service delivery will be anchored on a tripod of providing welfare and protection of members of MWUN, to support government policies and to facilitate trade at the nation’s ports and waterways,” he noted.
Dahiru was said to have suffered a major leg injury during Nted’s re-election bid that he was flown abroad for treatment having been thrown down from a two-story building by some MWUN’s election thugs. He survived it but some other victims could not.
In trying to stop his election bid, he said his opponents had contrived that he had been settled in London with five million Naira and as such he would not contest.