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Progressive Govs Forum DG Calls For Reorientation Of Labour Unions

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The Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman, has called for a reorientation of labour unions to ensure effective negotiations between them and employers of their members.
PGF members are governors elected on the platform of the APC.
Lukman said in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, that the on-going nationwide strike by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and other health workers for instance, was blameable on lack of institutional capacity.
He said the strike was also blameable on the inability of labour unions to effectively negotiate with employers and with governments.
He expressed regret at frequent strikes by healthcare workers which, he said, had led to preventable, unfortunate and avoidable deaths.
Lukman noted that most noticeable factor when union leaders, including those of NARD and the NLC negotiated with employers was the display of raw power.
The negotiations, he further noted, were often devoid of any empirical or conceptual evidence highlighting a vision of how the problems could be solved.
He stressed that rather than providing a roadmap of how problems could be solved, ego and loud voices of supposed opponents had become the main features.
“Any contrary opinion is condemned and dismissed; this is the new face of workers leaders’ in Nigeria.
“Street protests and strikes ahead of any negotiations are now very common. There is the need to reorient the practice of labour relations in Nigeria.
“A situation where because citizens are angry with government and political leaders, essential services are withdrawn and lives of citizens cheaply sacrificed must stop,’’ he stressed.
Lukman said it was frustrating when political appointees, such as ministers were unable to proactively pre-empt strikes.
Lukman said also that all stakeholders must as a matter of urgency lock themselves in the most qualitative form of negotiations with workers in the health sector.
This, he said, was critical to restore some minimum standards in the sector and not simply about negotiating terms and conditions of services of health workers.
He said Nigerians must also appeal to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to take all necessary measures to restore ethical conducts of all its registered members.
“A situation where conducts of medical practitioners, being also members of trade unions, conflict with the Code of Ethics they swore to, must be resolved in favour of protecting the lives of Nigerians.
“Under no circumstance should a registered medical doctor who is a member of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria conduct himself or herself in manners that neglected the primary responsibility of attending to sick persons.
“Labour issues. including negotiations for wages and terms of conditions of services and resolving challenges should be moved to the concurrent list in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended,’’ he said.
Lukman explained that a situation where terms agreed with the Federal Government were used by state governments’ employees would always create problems of implementation.
He advised that state governments should be more creative to introduce new incentives, which were not necessarily monetary, but perhaps having higher monetary values than what obtains in federal establishments.
According to him, there is a wide scope for initiatives beyond the question of monetary value of employment.
He added that given the cost to human life from strikes by health workers, it was quite alarming that strikes in a sector as important as health would be taking place at all.
“This is a sector that by every standard should be classified as essential based on which there should be special legal restrictions regarding labour actions such as strikes.
“A major challenge of Nigeria’s labour relations may have to do with issues of over-centralisation and institutional capacity to manage, regulate and facilitate negotiations and agreements.
“The issue of over-centralisation will continue to create challenges largely because negotiations between workers’ and employers’ organisations are no longer informed by empirical reality of resources available,’’ Lukman stated.
He noted that the five-day warning strike by the NLC against Kaduna State government in May over allegations of wrongful dismissals of employees of the state government could have been averted.
This, he said, was especially if the state’s Ministry of Labour had enforced provisions of the relevant laws to compel resumption of negotiations between unions and employers, including government.
He said the current indefinite strike by NARD members might also have been averted if there was a proper meeting between the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and parties to the disputes before the expiration of the ultimatum.
The NARD on-going indefinite nationwide strike is to demand for improved conditions and payment of unpaid salaries by some state governments.
The strike is also to protest the failure to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act 2017 in states, among others. (NAN)

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PDP Reschedules NEC Meeting For Sept 26

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has slated September 26 for its second National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the year.
The date was announced by the party through its 2024 adjusted timetable and schedule of activities for congresses, which were released to party members and stakeholders on Monday.
Ahead of the September NEC meeting, the party has slated July 27 for the conduct of ward/delegate congresses to elect ward executives as well as three ad hoc delegates in 23 out of the 36 states of the country, including Abuja.
The timetable also disclosed that, among other things, the NEC is expected to ratify the list of executives that will emerge from the congresses.
According to the timetable, local government congresses to elect council executives and national delegates in 21 affected states are expected to follow on August 10th.
Recall that in April, the PDP held its first NEC meeting after acrimonious elections in 2023, where many of its high-profile members were involved in anti-party activities.
The party remains polarised, with some members supporting former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the party, and others queuing behind the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Nyesom Wike.
The outcome of the election and issues surrounding the role played by its leaders led to the suspension of the National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, by his Igyorov Ward executives from the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
However, the effort to remove the Acting National Chairman, Ambassador Illiya Damagum, to allow the North Central region where Ayu hails from to produce its successor was deferred to the next NEC meeting earlier slated for August, which has now been shifted to September.

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Edo, Ondo 2024: INEC Warns Personnel Against Corrupt Practices

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the success of any election largely depends on the professionalism and competence of those responsible for conducting it.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this while warning its personnel against unethical and corrupt practices in the upcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
He spoke on Monday in Abuja at a lecture in honour of late Abubakar Momoh, former director-general of The Electoral Institute (TEI), from August 2013 to May 2017.
Prof. Yakubu, represented by the National Commissioner, and Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, warned that any unethical practice before, during and after those elections would incur severe punishments under the law.
The theme of the lecture was: “Achieving Professionalism Among Election Personnel Through Effective Training in Preparation for the Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.’’
He advised electoral officers to be guided by the principles of integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, gender and disability sensitivity.
He said it was important for electoral personnel to be knowledgeable, skilled and well-equipped with relevant competencies to handle the complexities and challenges of the electoral process.
“Moreover, the crucial role election personnel play in upholding the integrity of our democratic processes cannot be overstressed.
“The manner in which they discharge their duties and responsibilities affects the degree of confidence voters will have in the electoral process, which will impact their participation and turnout,’’ he said.
Prof. Yakubu said that to ensure credibility and trustworthiness in elections and build trust among the electorate, INEC had always prioritised the professional development of its election personnel.
He said the commission identified effective and efficient electoral training as the key to unlocking professionalism among election personnel.
“The commission’s involvement in effective training programmes has empowered its staff to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in order to strengthen our processes and procedures to serve the interests of all Nigerians,’’ he said.
The Director General of TEI, Dr Sa’ad Idris, in his remarks, said that INEC, in pursuit of its mission and vision, had prioritised professionalism toward achieving free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections.
“As we prepare for the 2024 Edo and Ondo off-cycle governorship elections, the commission is assured that the outcome of effective training of election personnel will manifest in a high level of professionalism”, he said.

 

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Reps Propose Rotational Presidency, Six-Year Single Term

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A bill seeking a single term of six years for the President and state governors was brought up on Monday by 35 members of the House of Representatives.
The bill also canvasses the rotation of the presidency among the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The 35 legislators, under the auspices of Reform-minded Legislators, said the proposition would lead to a reduction in the cost of governance.
Addressing a press conference at the National Assembly Complex on Monday, the spokesman for the group, Ikenga Ugochinyere, added that the move would unite the country and ensure a seamless transition and unprecedented development for the country.
Hon Ugochinyere emphasised the need to interrogate the challenges facing the Nigerian state, saying, “We should not be afraid to meet and discuss our problems, challenges, fears, aspirations, and prospects as a people. We should not discuss in fear and we should never fear to discuss.”
Speaking on the bill, Hon Ugochinyere, who represents Ideato North/Idaeto South Federal Constituency of Imo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said, “On governance, we are proposing a constitutional alteration to provide for the rotation of executive powers among the six geopolitical zones to ensure equal representation and reduce the desperation and tempo of agitation for the creation of states. We are proposing to amend Section 3 of the constitution to provide for the recognition of the division of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones.
“And also, to amend the constitution to provide for a single tenure of six years for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the state governors. This will bring about a reduction in government spending and wastage; promote efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and the governors.”
The lawmakers drawn from different political parties are also seeking amendments to the constitution “to create the office of two Vice Presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria.”
Hon Ugochinyere explained that the First Vice President would be a succession vice president, while the Second Vice President would be a minister in charge of the economy, and both shall be ministers.
Hon Ugochinyere said the 35 lawmakers were also pushing for a “constitutional amendment to provide that the President and the First Vice President shall come from the same part of the country (North or South) and the First Vice President shall become President whenever the President becomes incapacitated, that is, VP (succession), VP (Administration and Economy).”
The bill also seeks financial autonomy and accountability of local government councils by prescribing an independent Consolidated Local Government Council Account solely superintendent by Local Councils. It prescribes long-term imprisonment for any misuse of local government funds.
On electoral reforms, the group proposed amendments to the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to ensure “that all elections (presidential, governorship, National Assembly, state Houses of Assembly, and local Governments) are held on the same day.”
Hon Ugochinyere said, “We are pushing for amendments to relevant sections of the Electoral Act to provide that no declaration of a winner of an election shall be done by the relevant Independent National Electoral Commission officials until such officer has compared the results with the list of accredited voters and ensured that the results to be declared are in tandem with the list of accredited voters and the B-VAS machine or any other electronic device.
“Amend the Electoral Act to provide that any INEC officer who declares a false result will be liable for civil and criminal action personally brought against him by parties in the elections.
“An amendment to the Electoral Act to provide that all election-related litigations must be resolved and determined by the Elections Petitions Tribunal, Appeal Courts, etc before the winners are sworn into the respective elective offices.

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