THE Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has described its former president, the late Comrade Pascal Bafyau, as a visionary, pragmatic and proactive leader of the Nigerian workers.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said this at the 10th Memorial Lecture of the late Comrade Bafyau celebrated in Abuja on Tuesday.
Comrade Bafyau was the third president of the NLC. He passed on on May 15, 2012.
According to Comrade Wabba, the emergence of Bafyau as the President of NLC in 1988-1994 was very significant and it was no less historical and phenomenal.
“The depth of commitment of Bafyau was evidenced in many of the legacies he bequeathed to the labour movement including the construction of the gigantic edifice of the Labour House in Abuja, named after him.
“He used his personal and institutional leverage within the then military government of General Ibrahim Babangida to demand that NLC should be given choice land in the Federal Capital Territory.
“He also invested his energy and goodwill in attracting funding for the project, as a result of his commitment, NLC was able to attract the seed money of about N16.3 million used for design, soil test, clearing, among others for the Labour House,” he said.
The NLC president added that Bafyau demonstrated that labour leaders also possessed great business and administrative acumen as he then liaised with the National Provident Fund (NPF), now known as the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
“That is to contribute additional funds for the completion of the Labour House that he was determined to pursuit.
“Beside numerous workplace benefits that he won for Nigerian workers include the review of the national Minimum Wage, review of gratuity and pension qualifying period, review of Nigeria Workers Compensation Act, elongation of salary for all category of workers, among others,” he said.
Wabba, however, urged all not to lose sight of the lessons the late Bafyau left behind that include unflinching commitment, loyalty and sacrifice for the cause of the Nigerian workers and labour movement.
He also called on all to learn from the humble disposition of Bafyau that nearly earned him the Vice-Presidential slot with the late M.K.O Abiola.
Also, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, Guest Lecturer at the event, described the late Bafyau as a calm organiser and mobiliser and had the natural abilities to provide leadership to various segments of labour unions and some political elites, among others.
Zwingina said Bafyau had the humility to relate with vulnerable groups and equally shouldered their responsibility. He also had cordial relationship with the rank and file as well as the high command of the military.
“As we discuss Bafyau, we have to remember that quality leadership in the labour movement and even polity generally must be the one that contains legacy and structures.
“We should remember that the intellectual movements in the labour congress must learn to document the achievements and activities of various leaders in order to build the history of the Labour movement,” he said.
Mrs Jessica Bafyau, the widow of the late Bafyau, commended the NLC and all Nigerian workers for their support and show of love towards her family. She urged the leadership of the NLC to be steadfast and to continue to move the congress forward for the betterment of the Nigerian workers.
NAN also reports that the NLC recently purchased a house for the family of Bafyau at the outskirts of Abuja in Zuba, as a token in honour for his great legacy and sacrifice, as he did not own a single house in Abuja.