Also known as the International Workers Day, it came into effect in 1889 to beam the spotlight on workers’ struggle, a fallout of Haymarket affair in Chicago, U. S. A, where workers led a protest to insist on working for eight hours instead of the 12 hours a day, besides other welfare issues.
Here in Nigeria, led by the labour unions, workers are holding rallies across the country to mark the event and advocate for better welfare.
And following a pre-May day rally by the Nigeria Labour Congress, a major focus of this year’s celebration will centre around a call on Nigerian workers to get their PVCs and make their voices and votes count ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan has assured workers that the National Assembly will continue to partner with the Organised Labour to address issues relating to them.
He made gave the assurance in a statement celebrating Nigerian workers on the occasion of this year’s May Day, while calling for a speedy and amicable resolution to the months-old Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.
“Nigerian workers deserve our appreciation and respect for their contributions to the development of our country,” Lawan said.
“I also salute them for their patriotic cooperation with the government and other institutions in the collective efforts to address societal challenges.”
Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, also charged Nigerians to work in harmony to produce a better country for themselves and future generations.
“Labour is the backbone of a nation. Our nation’s labourers are the daily unsung heroes of society. The work they performed helps define our nation. The goods and services their efforts provide are the basis of our collective well-being, he said.
“Today is Workers’ Day. It is a day for us to fully celebrate the Nigerian worker”.
State governors have also joined in celebrating workers.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State urged workers in the state to remain productive and committed to carrying out their duties, while his Edo State counterpart Godwin Obaseki, assured workers in the state that his administration will continue to prioritise their welfare.
In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun joined workers to commemorate the day at the Moshood Abiola stadium in the state capital where a match past was held.
Addressing the state workers at the occasion, Governor Abiodun appreciated them for their loyalty, professionalism and perseverance in the face of the global socio-economic challenges.
The governor, however, seized the auspicious occasion to promise better years ahead as he promised to settle all outstanding deductions, gratuities and other welfare packages.
In the north, the Kaduna State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by Ayuba Suleiman, has lamented that the productivity and safety of workers in the state have been largely affected by banditry and terrorism.
The group, therefore, called on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens.
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in a goodwill message, described workers as partners in progress, assuring that his administration will continue to sustain and deepen the existing friendly working environment and industrial harmony in the state.