For Bimbola Oyesola, [email protected]

The The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) reiterated over the weekend that the quality of the decisions the Nigerian electorate would make in the 2023 general election would determine the fate of the country for years to come.

This is even as he has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders, including security agencies, to uphold the highest standards of professionalism to ensure free and fair elections.

“It must be one man, one woman, one vote,” Congress said.

The NLC said that INEC must ensure that politicians abide by the rules and that the logistical problems that dogged past elections are addressed in the 2023 elections. Furthermore, it said that efforts must be made to ensure that the BVAS system is implemented. effectively as the death knell for vote buying and electoral rigging in Nigeria.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba in the congress’s New Year message noted that the most compelling meaning of this national effort is that “2023 puts our destiny in our own hands.”

Wabba lamented that most of the dysfunctional social and economic gaps highlighted in 2022 still prevail and continue to undermine the collective bid to achieve the dreams of the country’s founders, saying it was good news that 2023 would start with Nigeria’s general elections, which has been scheduled for February 25, 2023, for the presidential and National Assembly elections, and March 11, 2023, for the gubernatorial and state assembly elections.

He said: “Amid the development concerns facing our beloved homeland, 2023 invites the citizen’s office to exercise the power of the vote to address the distortions, dislocations and disappointments in governance at all levels in Nigeria.”

Wabba said that many politicians have presented themselves on their political party platforms as capable of tackling the myriad of challenges facing the country.

He affirmed that 2023 has delivered these politicians, candidates for political office and their parties in the hands of the common electorate to decide if they are deserving of public trust for the public office to which they aspire.

According to the NLC Chairman, the great guideline for voters, especially for workers and ordinary Nigerians whose rights to a meaningful existence have been undermined by predatory politics and predatory politicians, is to hold on to the rails of issue-based politics. .

He said: “Our history has shown time and again that ethnic and religious leanings have offered little value and sustainable solutions to our persistent problems of stunted national development; 2023 offers us a unique opportunity to overcome paramount interests and take Nigeria’s destiny into our own hands by electing women and men of character, conscience and ability to address the growing crises of underdevelopment afflicting the country.

“A sector-by-sector analysis of development reveals why citizens should not trivialize or jeopardize the grand ticket offered by the 2023 general elections to put our country on a stable path of sustainable development, good governance, and growth. inclusive socioeconomic

Discussing the challenges in the health sector, among others, Wabba said that Nigeria is currently recording very frightening records: “The 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with the technical support from United Nations Children Emergency. Fund (UNICEF) and its partners, reveals a severe shortage of primary health care (PHC) facilities across the country.

In a related media audit of PHCs across the country, The NLC president said only 6,000 of 30,000 PHCs in Nigeria were established to be functional, marking 80 percent dysfunctionality in primary health services.

He added that the state of health care delivery at the secondary and tertiary levels is also nothing to write home about, as many public secondary health care facilities in Nigeria have degenerated into mere private consultation centers for adequate human resources for health.

The problem, he said, could be attributed to poor budget allocation, which is abysmal and fell short of the 15 per cent recommended by the 2021 Abuja Declaration and belated oversight by the national and state legislature on the votes released for the health sector.

Other issues highlighted by the NLC leadership included rising insecurity, the energy crisis, prolonged industrial action in the education sector, poor infrastructure, and the refusal of some state governors to pay their workers the minimum wage, among others.