The Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC ) has charged the Federal Government to restore the lost glory of public institutions such as schools and hospitals to centres of learning and care, saying it is the most enduring legacy to bequeath to Nigerians.
In his message to Nigerians on the country’s 59th independence anniversary yesterday in Abuja, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the time was ripe for the three tiers of government to invest heavily in social capital through a renewed commitment to quality and universal public education and construction of excellent medical facilities.
NLC stressed that most Nigerian universities and hospitals were ranked among the best on the continent and in the world attracting scholars and the sick from across Africa and beyond shortly after independence because of the investments of Nigerian leaders at the time.
It argued that the result of investment was top-notch human capital development, as Nigeria became the doyen of intellectualism on the continent producing world-class scholars, professionals and workers in different sectors of the economy a few years after independence.
“Our founding fathers showed a sincere commitment to industrialization because they believed in the dignity of labour and wanted every Nigerian to be gainfully employed,” it said.
The NLC submitted that Nigeria’s founding fathers created the enabling environment for industrialisation by providing quality roads, mass electrification and security of lives and property.
Organised labour said in spite of the best efforts of successive political leadership, Nigeria was clearly not where it ought to be.
“There is a lot of room for self re-discovery in the midst of the current grave challenges in human capital development, infrastructure, security and public order. Now is the time for the Nigerian renaissance.
“This is a call on both the nation’s leadership and followership. Our pride as the largest population of black people on earth is at stake and as such we have a duty to make that count for something meaningful,” NLC stated.
It argued that now is the time to make the public schools and hospitals the centres of excellence, adding: “Now is the time to climb out of the tunnel of darkness and provide the electricity needed to power the potential of our people.
“Now is the time to clean our political space and ensure that every vote counts. Now is the time to drown the noise of strife and violence with conversations for peaceful co-existence.
“Now is the time to build the critical infrastructure that will become the backbone of our collective quest for relevance globally and leadership on the African continent,” it added.
The NLC insisted that no nation survives by chance or wishful thinking, saying Nigerians should reflect, reprioritise, restrategise, reposition and relaunch the Nigerian dream, noting that as leaders and citizens, Nigerians owe themselves and future generations the responsibility of bequeathing a nation of justice, equity and prosperity.