Comrade Jimoh Oyibo delivering his acceptance speech as new President of FOBTOB in Abuja
Thursday, 3rd June 2021: The newly elected President of Food Beverages and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, (FOBTOB), Comrade Jimoh Oyibo has promised to build on existing legacies and gave an assurance on improving the welfare scheme of members of the association.
Oyibo made this statement during an exclusive interview with CEOAFRICA at the sideline of 14th National Delegates Conference of FOBTOB which took place at Abuja.
According to Oyibo, before the emergence of any leader he or she will have one or two things in mind to change in the system.
He stated that; “Despite the fact that there is a template which is anchored on a good welfare of FOBTOB members and the motto of the association is “to exhibit our living”, if members are going to enjoy that better living, we must at all times go towards the line of their welfare.
“First of all, we must look at the possibility of changing the present condition of our members to make it a better one.”
He lamented that policies debarring new members from joining the association are alien because they are against Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and that can as well weaken the union.
“Whether we like it or not, it is people that make up an association. What is happening in the industry today is trying to take our members away from us by way of introducing so many policies that debar members from joining the association which of course is alien.
“The Nigerian constitution gave you the right to join any union association of your choice and so some member companies are saying you cannot join such association by that they are also weakening the union.
“We are going to have conversations with the employers to make it open ended as interacted by the constitution, that you have the right to join any association. And so, if these people are allowed to join us, the more we are, the more strength we have.” He said.
Oyibo revealed that some members are denied their basic rights; they work beyond the official working hours without being compensated.
“Our members are denied some of their basic rights, some work from 7 am to 7 pm with no compensation. The law says, any additional hour to the official working hours must be compensated, whether you call it over time or inconvenience, allowance must be paid.” He stated.
“Again, it is not about employers giving us and giving us, we will also make sure that companies also progress, because without that growth and progress, agitation for whatsoever right we have will not come in.
“We will also partner with our employers to make sure that we discuss their challenges with them. Challenges will be discussed and resolved and we will partner with them to grow the business, from there, we can begin to agitate for other things.” Oyibo said.
He further spoke about the challenges in the country, how they affect the cost of production and how they limit national growth and development.
“Honestly, for any right thinking man, today in Nigeria, we see what is happening. I bleed internally because it appears things are not working.
“You will agree with me that if you look at what is happening, whether you talk of the bandits, whether you talk of kidnappers, whether you talk of herdsmen, it is making the environment not secured, and some of us do not even have that protection anywhere we go. Anytime you leave your house you are apprehensive not knowing what will happen next.
“In the North, particularly the Maiduguri Axis, people are not going to their farms, if they must go to farm, some of them go to the extent of paying for going out to their farms and if they fail to pay, they risk the chance of being killed in their farms.
“In other states outside Abuja the roads are not motor-able, yet we are endowed with lots of resources. Our educational system has collapsed; the average Nigerian cannot even afford to take their children to a University and they end up as secondary school drop outs.
“Industries where we work lack basic raw materials. How do we survive, how will the economy grow, how will the company thrive when all these things are playing around us?
“We are going to partner with Trade Union Congress, (TUC), which is the umbrella body of the senior staff to set up how we can approach government to see how these issues can be tackled, maybe the government is short of ideas, or they are overwhelmed by what is happening in the country, we can proffer solutions on how best to get about it.
“So far, some of our member companies like the Milk Company for instance, some of them can’t even import milk powder for their production.
“If you go to the distillery sector, you find out that they can’t import alcohol (ethanol), even if they do, it is at an exorbitant price to the extent that once they produce the cost of sales is such high that the margin is infinitesimal.
“I think what we need to do as an association is to meet with the TUC and then begin to discuss along this line how best to approach the government to improve these basic raw materials for our industry.
“Some people just go and buy the dollar under the pretense that they want to import these basic raw materials but they go elsewhere to sell these dollars.
“That should not be, it should be discouraged. The original importers of raw materials are being denied but those racketeers are being encouraged to buy the dollars. This must stop and if it does not stop, we will go extra mile to encourage Nigerians to go to the street if that is what is required.”