Nigeria scored another international feat yesterday with the African Regional Labour Group of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) nominating her for a Titular Membership of the ILO Governing Board, representing West Africa.
The nomination came at the 3rd Session of the Specialised Technical Committee on Social Development, Labour and Employment of the Africa Union, taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The mandate was sequel to days of intense lobbying and horse-trading which saw Nigeria breaking the ranks of the French Speaking Africa who had always used their numbers as ‘veto’ in continental decision making.
By this mandate, Nigeria which is currently holding a deputy position in the Governing Board of the ILO will assume the Titular- regular membership of the Board in June 2020 when fresh elections will be held.
Other West African countries also nominated for deputy positions are Senegal and Niger Republic.
Speaking on the development, the Minister of Labour and Employment Sen. Chris Ngige said moving Nigeria back to her rightful place in the comity of nations being a cardinal focus of the Buhari administration, no effort would be spared in international Labour diplomacy to buoy the nation’s labour administration.
Said the Minister, “besides South Africa, Nigeria makes the highest yearly contribution to the ILO in Africa. It is in millions of dollars. We can’t therefore as a nation be making such humongous contributions and be shut out at the highest decision making organ of the international Labour body. This informed the dogged effort of Nigeria to fight her way back to the Governing Board last year when we were elected deputy after ten years absence.”
“Beyond national pride, the benefits are invaluable in terms of technical assistance, manpower development and skills training; all intangible values which would ordinarily cost the nation a lot.”
Meanwhile as preparations for the centenary anniversary celebration of the ILO gather momentum, a glowing tribute was paid to Nigeria’s pioneering efforts as the first African nation to enlist and open the ILO office in the continent in 1959. The commendation was contained in an address by the ILO Regional Director for Africa, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon at the Specialised Technical Session.