Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Labour Unions in the country to embrace dialogue rather than confrontation in resolving industrial disputes.
Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in Abuja, Okowa noted that strike and confrontations should be the last resort stressing that dialogue remains a better way to address industrial disputes.
"I believe that the best unionists are those who learn to engage in dialogue,” Okowa said. “To that extent I must appreciate all the unions in Delta State for partnering with us through dialogue to help us derive peace and consolidate on the gains that have been made by previous administrations in our dear state".
"Unionism is good and it is something that must be encouraged as a nation and in the various industries because without unions there will be chaos in work places. NUPENG is strong in pushing for the welfare of her members but we must have it in mind that as a union we have a lot of role to play in the affairs of the nation whenever we gather to discuss", the governor added.
While congratulating NUPENG on its 40th anniversary celebration, Okowa commended the organisation for its maturity in handling labour issues.
Earlier, chairman of the occasion, General Yakubu Gowon, lauded NUPENG for her role in the development of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria and urged the union to address image challenges facing it.
He recalled NUPENG's contribution to fighting for the growth of democracy in Nigeria adding that the sustenance of Nigeria economy depends largely on NUPENG's contributions to the growth of the oil sector which remains largely the country's source of revenue.
NUPENG President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, said the union has contributed immensely not only to the growth of the economy but in the enthronement of peace and development of the Nigeria's democratic experience in the last four decades.
He noted that casualisation in the oil and gas sector is threatening the existence of the union as both local and foreign companies in Nigeria.
Highlights of the occasion was the presentation of awards to deserving individuals including Governor Okowa.
According to the General Secretary of NUPENG, Comrade Adamu Song, Okowa was being honoured for his role in ensuring peaceful oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta region.
While appreciating NUPENG for the award, Okowa noted that government would continue to strive for peaceful coexistence among oil companies and their host communities to encourage investment in the sector.