“Justice is indivisible, what is seen as justice to one should be seen as justice to the other” – Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara.
When Mr Frank Kokori was appointed as chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Social insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Chris Ngige Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Productivity refused to inaugurate him for over two years after his appointment was announced.
And when the minister eventually decided to inaugurate the board of the fund, the minister systematically omitted Kokori’s name from the list of those to be inaugurated replacing him with Mr Enejamo Isere, a supposed insurance expert, and transferring Kokori to the Michael Imodu Labour Institute, an act he claimed was sanctioned by Mr President.
All entreaties on Mr Ngige to change his stance fell on deaf ears including agitations by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). My hope in this country was shattered the more when I heard Chief Frank Kokori, a veteran in the labour struggle and a prisoner of conscience as declared by late Nelson Mandela and Pope Daint John Paul 11, utter the following words which was carried on several national dailies
“I’m very emotional and I want to cry. I’ve done my best for my country. When nobody raised their voice against the military, I came out with the unions to fight for freedom and democracy of my country…
“…twenty years after democracy, Frank Kokori, is being oppressed by somebody like Nigige.
Why I am giving this background is that if anybody had told me as at 2013 when Chief Chris Ngige contested for the Anambra state governorship elections and lost crying foul that he was rigged out or when he Ngige was abducted while in office as governor and forced to resign under duress and Nigerians rised to the occasion to defend him and cry foul or blue murder I will stoutly refuse to believe it. But it was Lincoln that said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Today, Mr Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Productivity, is even biting harder. He has gone further to in one swoop sack the leadership of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund in clear violation of a presidential circular barring ministers from arbitrarily sacking of heads of agencies and extra ministerial departments under their supervision without recourse to the secretary to the government of the federation.Ngige must not be allowed to run the NSITF, an agency with the mandate to provide compensation to insured workers who are victims of workplace induced diseases and accidents, like a sole administrator. That agency of government is too important to be allowed to be run in that manner as billions of Nigerian workers funds is domiciled therein.
Gaddafi Ibrahim Tanko,Abuja[email protected]