LAGOS- Comrade Ayodele Akele, a former chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos state chapter is dead.
Sources told Daily Independent that Akele, who was a former Secretary-General of the National Conscience Party (NCP), the party founded by the late Gani Fawehinmi died in the early hours of Tuesday after a protracted illness.
At the time of his death, he was National General Secretary of the National Conscience Party (NCP).
As a quantity surveyor, he worked at the Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC) from where he was elected Lagos State Chairman of the National Union Public Corporations Employees (NUPCE) in the late 1980s till 1996 when NUPCE along with CSTWUN and RSEU, merged to form the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees (AUPCTRE).
Beloved by rank and file workers who had implicit trust in him, he was elected as the first Lagos State Chairman of AUPCTRE, a position he held until he was sacked as an employee of LSDPC by the military governor Brigadier General Buba Marwa, for his union activities.
As soon as the new civilian government of Bola Tinubu was sworn-in on 29 May 1999, leaders of public sector unions in the state demanded the reinstatement of Akele. Playing the card of a NADECO “fighter for democracy” card, Tinubu promptly heeded the call.
Reinstated and fired
In his first speech on being reinstated, Akele immediately amplified calls for action to reinstate workers who had been sacked by Tinubu (yes, one of the first things the AD government did in Lagos was sack thousands of public sector workers in the name of “rationalisation”, starting within its first month in power!
Akele eventually got most of the workers (particularly in the health sector) reinstated. but obviously not forgiven.
The following year, workers in Lagos were locked in a monumental battle with the government.
NLC had negotiated a review of the national minimum wage to N7,500 for the federal public service (and richer states like those in oil producing states and Lagos) and N5,500 for (other) states. Lagos state government insisted it could not pay more than N5,500. Akele rallied the COIU leaders and rank and file union members.
A partial victory was won. But the empire struck back, once again Akele was sacked, and as much workers as were reinstated after the 1999 retrenchment were as well thrown into the abyss of unemployment.
Popularly known as ITURITY amomg his fellow comrade’s, Akele is a veteran of uncountable street battles, ever battle ready and stand well well comrade, who in articulating his perception on issues at several meetings and mass gatherings would joyfully introduced himself as “ever militant and corrosive fighter”.
A founding member of National Conscience when it was established as a party on 1 October 1994, he was always unshaken in rolling up his sleeves to work for the party till his death, He was the NCP Lagos governorship candidate in 2007, 2011 and 2015 .