The Nigeria Labour Congress has urged the Federal Government to deepen democractic tenets that would end current poverty and hardship in the country.
NLC’s Assistant Secretary, Information, Denja Yaqub, made this call at a Public Lecture in commemoration of the 45th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Cuba and Nigeria in Keffi, Nasarawa state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was organised at the instance of the Nigeria Movement of Solidarity with Cuba.
Yaqub noted that it was a matter for regret that the dividends of democracy was not being felt by the public, expressing concerns over imperialist tendencies in the country.
He said it was high time young persons began to think of how to nationally change the narrative of citizen’s plight, saying the issue of privatisation of public utilities was a major concern to the organised labour.
He said Nigerian government ought to take a cue from the Cuban experience wherein they revolted against imperialism by thinking inwards for self-development and sufficiency.
He said: “What has made Cuba succeed is much more than solidarity, but an ideological commitment to move the country forward without any ethnicity, without thinking about religion or tribe.
“The problem we have now in Nigeria is ‘Where are you from’, nobody is talking about the damage capitalism has done to the country, imperialism is attacking countries, it is after the natural resources of these countries, and this affects us because our leaders lack ideas.
“We run a system that is imposed on us; public service entails that we have access to public water, electricity and education but all of these have been privatised.
“Privatisation has to do with capitalism and we must do a lot to end it; young persons should rethink and think liberation, national, and socialism for inclusive development.”
Yaqub commended the cordial relations between Nigeria and the Republic of Cuba in diverse areas of health, history, education and ideological commitment.
Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Nasarawa State University, highlighted historical relationship between Nigeria and Cuba.
He said African countries ought to stand in full solidarity against the present issues of media repression, social injustices and economic imbalances in the Cuban republic, following its role in liberation of some countries in the region.
Ayuba pledged the commitment of the university in supporting the goal of ending injustice in the region, saying the collaboration was a two-way benefit for both countries.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Suleiman Mohammed, called on the Cuban Government to support the institution in the construction of its College of medicine, highlighting their achievements in world class experience in health care delivery.
On minimum wage implementation, Mohammed called on the State unions to be more responsive, by holding the executives accountable.
He added: “We need to carry the struggles to the states, they have to live up to their responsibilities, labour must ensure that the state unions do more to ensure full implementation of the national minimum wage.”
The Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Carlos Trejo, said the Cuban people were conscious of their cultural affinity with the African people.
Trejo said Cuba would always ensure that they shared their successes with the Nigerian people, adding that his country’s past assistance to Nigeria was devoid of any financial gains.
He said in spite of US strong opposition, Cuba would continue to maintain her strong friendships with African and Nigerians.
The ambassador said that Nigerians in Cuba were not regarded as Afro-Cubans, but as Cubans, adding that his country would never let Africa down.
Trejo said in spite of imperialist aggressiveness from United States of North America, the country had managed to achieve high political and mutual confidence within the international community.
NAN recalls that the Cuba solidarity organisations from the continent centre their efforts on demanding an end to the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by United States government on Cuba, with protests outside US embassies and consulates across the region.