Nigeria’s unpreparedness and inability to get her politics right at the African Union Commission’s Specialized Technical meeting on Social Development Labour and Employment, held in Algiers, Algeria in April cost the country its regular membership status of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Africa’s representatives were chosen for the Titular members of the ILO at the African meeting where Nigeria settling for its deputy.At the just concluded meeting of the International Labour Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, Nigeria had to settle for deputy Titular members as Chad, Cote d’ Ivoire, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mauritania and Senegal occupied regular seats.
But Nigeria alongside Cameroon, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland and Uganda occupied deputies.Those that emerged to occupy the positions did not emerge in Geneva, but at the African Social Affairs meeting, which preceded the annual ILO meeting.
Reacting to the outcome, the Nigerian Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, denied that the country lost at the election.A statement by the deputy director of press in the ministry, Olowookere Samuel, said claims that the country lost an election was incorrect.
“To put the records straight, Nigeria was elected into the Governing Body made up of 122 members, which comprises 56 Titular members, (28 Governments, 14 Employers and 14 Workers) and 66 deputy members (28 Governments, 19 Employers and 19 Worker) on June 12, 2017.
“Nigeria was elected as one of the 66 deputy members with all rights accruable to membership of the ILO Governing Board as one of the representatives of Africa. “By this, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige is automatically on the Governing Board of ILO from June 2017 to June 2020,” he explained.
He, however, admitted that Nigeria had to settle for deputy after losing at the meeting.Olowookere added that Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria represents West Africa on the ILO Governing Body, having scaled through a nomination exercise supervised in Algiers under the auspices of the African Union Commission, Specialized Technical Meeting on Social Development Labour and Employment, held in Algiers, Algeria in April 2017.
Considering its many years of participation and contributions to various technical debates and meetings of the ILO, Nigeria was also elected into four strategic committees of the Governing Body namely: Committee on Freedom of Association; The Board of the International Training Centre of ILO, Turin, Italy; the Working Party on the Functioning of the International Labour Conference and Governing Body and the Committee on the Institutional Section of the Governing Body sessions for the next three years.
The country is returning to the ILO Governing Board after 10 years of absence and the contributions of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, international labour diplomatic interaction by the African Ministers of Labour and Employment, contributed to a large extent in achieving the feat. Technical assistance, training and employment opportunities for qualified Nigerians, among others, are some of the expected benefits that would accrue to the country.