The newly elected President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Prince Williams Apkoreha, has declared that the issue of job security of the union’s members will be his top priority.
Though Apkoreha said the challenges before his new executive were enormous, he promised to use all resources at his disposal to protect the job of his members.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune following his election, the NUPENG president said: “I am assuring you that we will use all resources at our disposal, both human and material, to defend the job interest of all our members.
“We shall protect our collective interest with our collective resources in line with extant rules. Be assured of the fact also that we shall show more commitment and seriousness to the vision of taking the union to next level by building stability and unity of the union, as well as ensuring a stable financial base through prudence, frugality, transparency and accountability.”
To achieve this, he said the union will henceforth vigorously embark on “tactful and strategic” unionisation of workers in both the formal and informal sectors of the oil and gas industry.
The new approach to unionisation, according to him, will include careful and objective recruitment of organizers, in-depth research work, creation and consistent maintenance of efficient and effective collaborative union-management relationship.
He pointed out that his new executive is coming in at a critical time when the industry is facing two critical challenges of changes and reforms.
The NUPENG president, however, added that they would not allow the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, to impact negatively on the job security of their members.
“One of these challenges is the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill that has just been harmonised and passed by the National Assembly. There is no doubt the passage of the bill is long overdue, but nevertheless, the implementation of this Act must not be allowed to impact negatively on job security of workers in the industry,” he said.
Identifying globalisation as another serious challenge, he said, “Globaliaation has created series of challenges to the global working class. The new dimension of these challenges is the replacement of man at work with machine. The race between man and machine has left workers with the right side of the baton with redundancies being served on our plates every now and then. Union membership has been seriously depleted due to impact of industry 4.0.
“It is within this context that we commend President Mohammadu Buhari on his ‘Nigeria First Initiative’ on job recruitment order. This we believe will go a long way in halting the expanding and increasing unemployment level of qualified youths in the country.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has elected Prince Williams Apkoreha as the president to run the affairs of the union for the next four years.
Apkoreha took over from Igwe Achese, who has steered the affairs of the union for the past eight years.
The new president, who was the immediate past National Treasurer of the union was elected unopposed during the 4th National Delegates Conference of the union held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Fifteen other members of NUPENG National Administrative Council were also elected unopposed.
Other members of NUPENG new executive are: Bassey Harry, and Olujid Kilanko Deputy Presidents, Aneru Bello, Rotimi Benjamin, Lucky Etuokwu, and Adamu Abdulkadri, Vice Presidents Warri Zone, Lagos Zone, Port Harcourt Zone and Kaduna Zone.
Also elected were: Alex Agwanwor, National Treasurer, Monday Osunde National Trustee, Cogent Ojobor, National Public Relations Officer, PRO, Odudu Benjamin, National Industrial Relations Officer, P. A. Onyeodi, Financial Secretary, Victoria Oyeleke, National Welfare Officer, Suleiman Runka, National Auditor, Thompson Abiodun, National Auditor and Prince Moses, National Chief Whip.
In his acceptance speech, Apkoreha commended his predecessor, Comrade Achese for very impactful leadership and assured him that his legacy would not be rubbished.
“NUPENG will never forget you for your legacies will live forever. You are a man of interprets, vision and purpose. The regime of Comrade Igwe Achese executed so many tremendous and adorable projects and initiatives. Indeed you are an inspiration and a challenge to us to continue with these great works that you began. I am confident that with this new team that has come on board today, we shall keep the flag flying higher and make you proud.”