Full Text of Gen. Yakubu Gowon Opening Remarks During NUPENG 40th Anniversaryemmanuel ajibule
OPENING REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY,
GENERAL DR. YAKUBU GOWON, GCFR,
AT THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE NIGERIA UNION OF PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS WORKERS (NUPENG) AT THE
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE,
ABUJA ON 6TH DECEMBER, 2018.
- Life begins at 40, people say. If this holds true, it then means that the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is just about to begin life. Over these many years, NUPENG has come to mean so many things to different people. It is seen as a powerful petroleum labour movement that can hold the nation, the industry, transportation to a stand-still or ransom by going on strike, but more generally, the Union is seen as a major fighter for the growth and sustenance of democracy as we know it today in Nigeria. It is in appreciation of this fact that I accepted to be present at this celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Union. It is, therefore, my pleasure to welcome everyone to this occasion.
- Historically, NUPENG is on of the 46 industrial unions initially approved by law to organize, protect and defend the interests of workers in diverse industries in 1978. Since then, NUPENG has lived up to expectation as a defender of the interest of its primary constituency in the oil and gas sector. By extension, it has made significant and highly commendable political and socio-economic impact on every Nigerian particularly at the dawn of the 21st
- The theme of this 40th anniversary – “Oil and Gas Workers; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” – Aptly signpost the need for proper stock taking to position the Union for more achievements in the future. As you are aware, the sustenance of our nation’s economy and its peace and stability depend largely on your untiring services because NUPENG and its members are strategically placed in very important sector of the Nigeria economy.
- From birth, your union has exhibited unity of purpose, which has been critical to its ability to meet internal and external challenges despite drawing its membership from diverse religious, ethnic and gender groupings across the country. The lesson to be drawn from this is that even when tribes and tongues differ, we, as Nigerians, can still achieve greatness as one united people.
- Despite NUPENG’s achievements over the years, the image of the union has been sullied by the way citizens perceive the union in recent times. Owing to the spate of industrial action by the union, citizens have come to see NUPENG as a major source of economic dislocation. These days, citizens appear to see the union’s unrelenting struggles to champion the cause of its members and its fight for accountability and transparency more self-serving than in the national interest. NUPENG must expeditiously address this worrisome image issue.
- All said, NUPENG’s 40 years has been more gains than pains. I, therefore, enjoin the leadership of the union to keep up the rich tradition of the past and continually work in the best interest of the people and the nation. On this note, I wish to formally declare open the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
- I thank you all for listening and wish you successful celebrations.
GEN. DR. YAKUBU GOWON, GCFR
6 December, 2018.