OPENING REMARKS OF COMRADE WILLIAMS AKPOREHA, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE 4TH QUADRENNIAL DELEGATES CONFERENCE OF PETROLEUM TANKER DRIVERS BRANCH OF NUPENG HELD ON 10TH MAY 2018 AT LADI-KWALI CONFERENCE HALL OF SHERATON HOTEL, ABUJA.
My fellow Comrades
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my special pleasure and honour to be at this 4th quadrennial delegate’s conference of the biggest and strongest branch of our union. This conference is very important to me in several ways, first as an individual, as a comrade member of our great union and more importantly as the President of NUPENG. I have been praying and looking forward to this day. Therefore, my fellow Comrades, I am extremely well pleased to be here today as the Chairperson of this august gathering.
I proceed with this opening remarks by first expressing my profound appreciation to the entire members and leadership of this great branch for the massive support and endorsement you gave me to become the President of NUPENG at our last national delegates conference in Port Harcourt.
Let me clearly put it on record that, PTD was the first and only branch that was courageous enough to endorse my candidacy even when the coast was not clear enough.
The leadership and individual members of the branch supported me financially, morally and prayerfully. You all came out with so much zeal and determination to ensure the realisation of our collective dream. Thank you!, Thank you!!, Thank you!!!
While words are not enough to express my appreciation, Please note today that I shall remain very committed to all good things desired by this wonderful branch, just like the way you stood by me, so shall I stand by you and my leadership will support all your aspirations. My administration is your administration and all I crave for, is your counsels, prayers and support at all time.
Looking at the history, development and growth of the Petroleum Tanker Driver Branch of the union, one cannot but be amazed about the consistency of leadership quality of this branch, most especially when one considers their life journey and circumstances.
They have continually been evolving into well knit cohesive group, producing quality and progressive leadership uncommon even among very learned groups and association in this country. The transitions from one regime to another for the past two decades have been so peaceful and well organised. The branch keeps moving from strength to strength and from one level of achievement to another.
One very unique thing I met and have continued to admire about the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch is their willingness to protect the weak and vulnerable branches of the union. We have embarked on so many struggles with PTD giving solidarity in form of strikes and picketing against anti worker management and negative government policies
We have been able to increase our revenue base basically because of the branch loyalty and commitment to the union. The branch leadership has been so selfless and creative in making our union remain financially stable and hopeful. On behalf of every member of the union, we appreciate you.
Since my assumption of office, with the approval of the national executive council of the union, we have taken some decisive actions that we believe will help in galvanising the union to the next level.
We found out as we took over that the membership of the union, most especially in the formal sector has been generally decreasing alarmingly because of several factors, most especially low morale among the secretarial staff.
In response to this, we have embarked on major restructuring to reposition the union on strong pedestal that will take it to the next level. All secretariat staff whose promotions have been stagnated since 2008, has been promoted and in some cases double promotions to revive their morale and commitment to work.
We have commenced the recruitment of well educated; energetic, enthusiastic young workers to replace some of our staff that are due for retirement. It will interest you to know that we have put in place adequate arrangement for an enhanced exit packages for all those that will be released.
We promise to administer the union with human face and heart of kindness. To this end, we have also restored all staff benefits and allowances that were previously suspended.
Most of you must have observed that our national Secretariat needs urgent upgrading to meet current challenges and realities; it is in our plan to bequeath a befitting national Secretariat to you. We intend to commence the process of erecting a new ultra modern secretariat in couple of months to come.
As you are also aware that the strength of any trade union organisation is in the numerical number of its membership, our recruitment and operational activities will be geared toward organising more members into the union.
Aside increasing the membership strength of the union, it is also in our plan of action to diversify and increase the number of sources of income for the union. We plan to leverage on our strength and opportunities in the downstream sector to achieve these, by providing key services in the industry such as having mega filling stations across the country and building ultra modern petroleum tanker parks in every zone of the union.
We have all these noble and lofty ideas and dreams; it is our firm belief, that with the unrelenting support of Petroleum Tanker Drivers, they are all achievable within the time lines we set. We urge you to continue to support us as we promise to run a union that is accountable, transparent and have high regards for members and branches.
The theme of this conference is very apt and topical because, as you already know, road is one of the major working conditions for every tanker driver. An average Petroleum Tanker Driver, who is actively on the wheel, spends most parts of his working life on the road traversing from one loading location to several discharging locations, all to get the economy of our nation going. His safety, health, prosperity, promotion, effectiveness and even life expectancy depend almost entirely on the state of road infrastructure.
It is therefore a thing of joy to me, when I heard about the invited dignitaries to the conference, most especially the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, who is expected to deliver the Keynote Address. We know the present regime has been working hard to properly fix our highways but yet, a lot still have to be done. In the light of this, we earnestly call on the federal government to declare state of emergency on Nigerian roads so as to attract urgent and attention, as no economy thrives without good roads and effective transportation system.
The presence of the Group Managing Director of N.N.P.C as the Special Guest of Honour is a very big endorsement of this gathering. While the choice of the National President of National Association of Road Transport Owner as the Speaker on the theme of the conference is so appropriate and on point. We cannot expect any better team than this.
On this note I hereby declare the conference open and wish all delegates and invited guests’ happy and fruitful conference.
Solidarity forever!! For the union makes us strong!!
We shall overcome,
God bless us all