FULL TEXT: President Bola Tinubu’s speech on Workers’ Day

Solidarity in Action: Collaborative Governance, Empowered Workers

By President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR

Being a speech by His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the occasion of the 2024 May Day celebration, held on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Eagle Square, Abuja.


My dear compatriots and fellow workers in the service of our great country,

Today, I join you to share in the essence of this day and to express my deepest gratitude and admiration for the invaluable contributions each and every one of you makes to keep our nation afloat in its times of greatest need.

Today, I stand before you to tell a fundamental truth: you, the workers of our great nation, are its very backbone. But I’m not here merely to echo familiar praises of the labour force. Rather, I want to assure you that we appreciate and celebrate your hard work, sacrifices, and contributions to the prosperity and stability of our great nation every day. I am equally thrilled that this event, the first since we took office, is organised by the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress under the leadership of Comrades Joseph Ajaero and Festus Osifo.

Great Nigerian workers, your role as an indispensable component of the nation’s engine cannot be overstated by any government if the quest for a just and progressive society is to be realised. Therefore, I extend my most heartfelt congratulations to you on this very important celebration.

I do not take for granted the understanding, patience, commitment, and support you have shown throughout the implementation of this government’s policies and programmes aimed at positively transforming our great nation. Your contributions have played a significant role in our efforts to rescue the economy since we came on board.

Fellow Comrades, your choice of the theme “People First” for this year’s May Day celebration is both instructive and commendable. The thoughtful selection by the leadership of both the NLC and TUC resonates with my government’s agenda and demonstrates that the working class holds a central position in the affairs of this nation. It also reflects the commitment of Organised Labour to collaborate with the government for the benefit of all citizens. I appreciate your efforts to prioritise the people in governance.

I recognise that the theme “People First” aligns with both the “Human-cantered Agenda for the Future of Work” and the Centenary Declaration of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which the government is committed to implementing. This commitment ensures alignment of Nigeria’s Labour Administration System with international best practices. While the three pillars of the agenda seek to drive growth, equity, and sustainability for present and future generations, they require us to prioritise investment in people’s capabilities, enhance investment in work institutions, and promote decent and sustainable work.

We took office at the time many nations, including ours, were experiencing daunting socio-political and developmental challenges. Yet, we are resolute in confronting these obstacles head-on. The scourge of criminality, from banditry to kidnapping and the farmer-herder crises, alongside terrorism, continues to afflict our nation despite the tireless efforts of our armed forces. We are aware of the toll this takes on our economy. I assure you: we are fully committed to tackling these security challenges.

You would recall that on January 30th, 2024, the Federal Government convened a 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage. The committee’s mandate was to provide counsel and suggest a national minimum wage that aligns with our current economic conditions. Since then, the committee, in collaboration with labour leaders, has been diligently working towards proposing a new National Minimum Wage. Unfortunately, despite concerted efforts, the committee was unable to reach a consensus at its last meeting. This shall be resolved soon and I assure you that your days of worrying are over.

Indeed, this government is open to the committee’s suggestion of not just a minimum wage but a living wage.

Great Nigerian Workers, we cannot achieve a just and equitable society that caters to the needs of every member, including the strong and the weak, without fostering peace and unity. Our shared vision for national growth and development can only be realised in an atmosphere of industrial harmony and peaceful coexistence in every segment of our country. The dividends we have promised the nation, and which you work tirelessly to ensure, can only be achieved when we all unite for progress.

On this momentous day, I urge you and all our fellow citizens to place your trust in this administration. The seeds of greatness planted in our nation are beginning to bear fruit, and they promise a future filled with hope and bound by prosperity.

Let me assure you, with the utmost sincerity, that every initiative undertaken by this administration is geared towards transforming Nigeria into a nation that can truly provide for its people.

So, I call upon each and every one of you, as I have consistently done, to join hands in shaping the destiny of our nation towards greatness. Our allegiance and patriotism are the bedrock upon which our beloved country thrives. The success of our government’s policies and programmes hinges on the willingness of the workers, as the backbone of our workforce, to embrace them wholeheartedly. I appeal to you to continue using the power of the labour movement for the greater good of our nation, fostering harmony and cooperation.

Once more, I extend my heartfelt congratulations on this successful Workers’ Day celebration, and I wish you all joyous festivities.

May God continue to bless our country.

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Written by Nike

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