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Text of Comrade Ayuba Wabba’s Speech at the opening ceremony of the International Trade Union Confederation “Stop Corporate Greed Campaign” for the African Region, 25 July 2016, Abuja
26-Jul-2016


Text of Comrade Ayuba Wabba’s Speech at the opening ceremony of the International Trade Union Confederation “Stop Corporate Greed Campaign” for the African Region, 25 July 2016, Abuja – Nigeria Protocol Comrades, friends, allies in the press, ladies and gentlemen, let me specially welcome all of you to this epoch-making event. It is epoch in the sense that we are delighted to be hosting the dynamic, dogged and ever committed General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) that represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories, with 333 national affiliates of which Nigeria Labour Congress is one of such, Sharan Burrow who is visiting Nigeria for the first time. We shall be formally kick-starting the African component of a global campaign aimed at sending and enforcing a strong and resounding message to the greedy and rapacious corporate world and entities that “enough is enough” of the exploitation of workers, our people, environment and economies . Comrade Sharan, on behalf of the teeming Nigerian workers, our members, allies and collaborators in the quest for social justice, I say a big and warm welcome to you. Welcome to Nigeria. Welcome to the land of possibilities, courage, passion, culture, enterprise and beauty. Though, we have had a fair share of our challenges and hope seems to be a bit blighted yet the people are undaunted, I’m sure that before you leave, through your interactions and observations, you will return to Brussels with impressions that would have deconstructed some of those news and views that are not in our character and spirit. To our other international and African guests, colleagues and comrades, we say a very big welcome to you too. Of course, security is a personal and collective responsibility, we nevertheless want to assure you that Abuja and Nigeria is safe and urge you to explore the beauty and charm of our beautiful capital city, Abuja. Once again, you are all welcome. The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has given security a top most priority. Comrades and friends, on the issue of fighting to halt and ultimately end corporate greed, we are all witnesses to the ills and iniquities of multinational enterprises. From 2007-08 when corporate greed and market rascality plunged the world into a financial and, later, harrowing economic crisis, working men and women, pensioners and communities suffered immense losses. Till date, the miseries and hardship caused by their reckless and greedy actions left have scars on people, households, communities and economies. Shockingly, rather than side with their people, constituents and constituencies, politicians and governments have continued to make obscene and offensive concessions to businesses and the elites providing them tax havens to hide their criminal and corrupt wealth and loot by so doing, avoiding and dodging taxes. For the poor and citizens, they have rewarded them with damning, hard and biting austerity measures. Thus, living and working conditions stagnant and getting worse - the poor getting poorer, whilst the rich richer at the expense and damnation of the poor. Comrades, a recent Oxfam report released this January, show that 62 persons control more than half global wealth share. To put the picture of the report in vivid and analytical perspectives is to imagine the depth of depravity and exclusion of capitalist globalisation given the patently unjust disproportionate distribution of global prosperity. The facts speak: the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 Trillion, monies made on the backs and brows of working men and women, including the armies of the informal economy workers. “We create the wealth” The same report pointed to the fact that global wealth share of the poor has dropped by 38 percent. The poor all around us continue to live in dire, marginal and despondent existence. The situation is worse for our women and the armies of the unemployed. These days, the rank of the working poor is expanding as the phenomenon of exploitation is crossing even to public sector where workers are owed and denied their wages for months, especially in States and Local Government Areas. Given that African trade unions have longed resolved to move away from lamentation and self-pity, we have warmly welcomed the initiative of the ITUC to aggressively drive this campaign aimed at halting and reserving corporate greed and their effects on workers, women, our communities and economies. Comrade Sharan, I recall that at the last ITUC Congress in Berlin, Germany, the NLC made a commitment to double her current membership before the next Congress. Let me assure you that we are mindful of this pledge as we know it is in our self-interest to so do. We have since commenced internal fine-tuning processes aimed at an aggressive and sustained organising blitz. We know that this campaign will effectively reinforce our organising struggle aimed at improving and expanding the spaces for the defence, protection and promotion of workers’ rights. The NLC wishes to again reassure you that we shall be fully involved in this “end corporate greed campaign” even as we will invite and welcome our civil society allies to join us in this campaign. Enough is enough! Once again, welcome comrade Sharan, welcome sisters and brothers, comrades. Thank you for your attention. .

 

 


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