Gambari: Organised Labour Canvasses Mass Support for New Chief of Staff
Against the background of the spike of the infection rates of COVID :19 pandemic, Organized labour has called for enhanced partnership between the citizens and the government in containing the spread of the dread disease. In a statement on the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Gambari as the new Chief of Staff to the President, Comrade Issa Aremu Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union observed that given the enormous challenges before Buhari administration, the public must give the necessary support to the new Chief of Staff in order for him to hit the ground running in making an urgent difference in good governance. Aremu who is a a Member of National Institute, Kuru Jos observed that some reported discordant voices among few stakeholders following Professor Gambari’s appointment must give way to constructive engagement and cooperation in assisting the nation to protect lives and ensure sustainable livelihoods in the wake of the negative impact of Corona Virus on the economy.
HAILS THE APPOINTMENT
Aremu hailed the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Agboloa Gambari, CFR, OCORT as the 5th Chief of Staff (COS) in the current dispensation by President Muhammadu Buhari adding that it is “deserved, earned, timely and commendable”. He said “the bipartisan, national and global appreciation of the singular appointment by the president shows that the scholar-diplomat is eminently qualified to assist President Buhari in Nigeria’s stride for Nation-Building”.
According to him, the new Chief of staff as the Head of the Presidential aides and principal coordinator of the policy vision of the President, brings to the Presidency “impressive triple heritage of scholarship, statesmanship/diplomacy and civil society/private experiences spanning decades”. He said the relevance of the timeliness of Professor Ibrahim Gambari’s impeccable credentials cannot be over emphasized adding that “it came at the fullest of time” the country was grappling with the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome known as coronavirus, disease which has created new challenges for both lives and livelihoods in Nigeria and world wide. “With confirmed 5000 cases that include frontline health workers and as many as 164 deaths, COVID: 19 is a major challenge in Nigeria to life expectancy of 53 years which is below African average of 65 years.” Aremu said. As tested loyal and patriotic public office, Professor Gambari would assist the President to upscale the good work of the Presidential Task Force in coordinating and overseeing Nigeria’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental efforts to contain the spreading of the disease with active 4000 infected persons in the country.
As former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa (1999-2005), former Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (1990-1994) and on Peace-Keeping Operations (1990—1999) and Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (2005-2007) and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar and Special Representative in Angola, tye labour leader said Professor Gambari is better positioned to mobilize important material and policy resources to contain the pandemic which has claimed almost 300,000 lives in the world.
“There must be all inclusive massive and sustained awareness of citizens. COVID-19 is a matter of life and death as President Buhari had repeatedly admonished in his national broadcasts. Professor Gambari, Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, a non-governmental think-tank on research, policy studies, brings his wealth of experience in advocacy and training on the prevention of Virus for which there is no vaccine yet.
Citizens must be made to own the narratives on protocols and guidelines with respect to personal and work place hygiene, physical and social distancing and gradual easing of movements. It’s time the National Orientation Agency (NOA) complements the efforts of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through grassroots advocacy in partnership with the states, civil societies, political parties and faith based organizations, he said.
On the economy, the former Labour Party ((LP) governorship candidate said while the achievements of President Muhamadu Buhari in the critical three point agenda of Security, Anti-corruption and the repositioning of the economy have been well documented, COVID-19 had triggered unprecedented economic challenges necessitating an urgent review of 2020 budget of 10.52 trillion naira, lower than 10.59 trillion naira approved in December by President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, CBN under Godwin Emefiele had initiated series of measures that could turn the current “tragedy into opportunities” for Nigeria ‘s development. Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and Labour Minister Chris Ngige had also commendably announced recovery plans to stimulate the economy and create jobs in all local governments. The challenge is to work towards a new economic paradigm that must stress inclusion, diversification, productivity equity, mass Decent jobs, smart work poverty eradication and self reliance in the wake of total break down of the global supply chains. Nigeria must produce what it consumes starting with health and well care services and Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) he said..
Comrade Aremu said post COVID Nigeria must promote re-Industrialization of the economy. He hailed the recent inauguration of the “Ajaokuta Presidential Project and Implementation Team” (APPIT) as a welcome development to reinvent iron and steel sector. The IndustriALL Global Union and sector Unions of iron and steel and engineering workers will partner with President Buhari administration in reviving the Ajaokuta Steel plant which has been idle for about four decades. Revamping the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, “clearly presents a unique opportunity to make us West Africa’s largest fully integrated steel producer and most importantly accelerate our industrialization especially in steel related industries” he said.
As a Labour Delegate to 2014 National Conference, Comrade. Aremu disclosed that Professor Ibrahim Agboloa Gambari, CFR was among the Eminent Elders who set the guidelines for consensus building which led to the success of that historic confab. “Despite diverse legitimate differences, the Confab built unprecedented National Solidarity and CONSENSUS for National Development on critical issues as Industry, trade and investment, labour, religion, energy, political restructuring, devolution of power and Foreign policy among others without rancor and without acrimonious votes counting.”