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Kaigama,: An Irrepressible Trade Unionist On His Next Chapter

Standing up for Nigerian workers and being a voice for the voiceless,  Bobboi Bala Kaigama, President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC),   has become a force to reckon with.  As he is successfully coming to the end of his second and final tenure (Just about 7months is left)  as the boss of Nigeriaís second-largest labour union, FrontPage Nigeria in this edition presents his thoughts on the next chapter of his life, and some facts you didnít know about him.


 I am from one village called Kakara, a town on the Mambilla Plateau, in the Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State. My hometown is the place where the high quality tea known as Highland is made. The tea leaves are grown here.

Our local government was named after the Sardauna of Sokoto. He was instrumental in convincing my people to move over to Nigeria. We were under the trusteeship territory during the world wars. That area was under the Germans.

The Mambilla has a temperate climate. When the Europeans came, they tested the soil and found it was good to grow tea. And that was the beginning of Highland Tea.

My grandfather Kaigama was the one who created Kakara village, and my fatherís name is Bala. He is the Jawuro of Kakara. Jawuro is a village head.

My father had four wives, currently two. My mother was the first wife. She had two children before me. They all died. So Iím the eldest child of the family.

Abubakar is my Islamic name, but I am popularly called Bobboi, my native name, so I decided to call my first child Abubakar, so that my name will not be extinguished.

My father was a farmer. He is into cattle rearing. I was part of the rearing too. I am an epitome of a man educated from the income of a farmer, and have remained passionate about that profession. I have my own ranch now.

As soon as I graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University where I studied Urban and Regional Planning in !989, did my Youth Service in 1990, started work the following year, I took ove the r responsibility of assisting my father in training my younger ones.

While doing my National Youth Service (NYSC) programme in 1990 in Kwara State, I developed a park, and received a state honour, also the NYSC Directorís Award.

After my NYSC, I started work with the then Gongola State Urban Planning and Development, later promoted to Town Planning Officer1 and posted to Mubi Zonal Town Planning Office as Coordinator/Zonal Officer. I also served as Acting Secretary, Taraba Stateís Task Force on Environmental Sanitation.

I was a Senior Town Planning Officer, Principal Town Planning Officer, Substantive Secretary of Taraba Stateís Task Force on Environmental Sanitation, Secretary, Works and Services Committee of the 13th Joint Domestic Trade Fair, Taraba 2000.

January 2009, I became an Assistant Chief Town Planning Officer, from there to Chief Town Planning Officer, Assistant Director (Town Planning) and later Director of Town Planning.

I played football in primary school. While growing up, I had an activist spirit. You canít trample on my rights. I was also protective of the weak. I was the first to have a Kodak camera in my village.

Fighting for workers rights is a call. It is something I was born to do. I love serving as a voice for the voiceless. I love serving humanity.
I have served as the Taraba State Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), two-term Taraba State Council Chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), National Executive Council of TUC since 2005, National Vice President of ASCSN.
I am still currently the National President of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN).

Under my watch as the president of TUC since 21st of June, 2013, we have made sure that thousands of Nigerians are not maltreated and exploited in the workplace. Many facing challenges have been protected. We now have a housing scheme. We got 18,000 minimum wage. Now we are talking of 30,000. I was actually fighting for about 62, 200 because under the present economic situation, it would have been more appropriate, a living wage, but as we say - A Luta Continua. The struggle continues.

I would have loved the next chapter after my final tenure as President of the Trade Union Congress to be as the Governor of Taraba State. I wanted my state to have taste of a servant leader, a leader who cares, but a shoddy primaries made it impossible. And Iím not here to complain. I must support my party. I call myself a Labour man in APC.

Whatís my next chapter? I am a farmer. I have 200 employees in my farm. I not only pay them a living wage, I feed them daily. Farming is the king of all professions. I will keep on defending the voiceless. In fact, I have been providing for the less privileged, scholarships to the poor and orphans. Now I want to formalise it through The Bobboi Bala Kaigama Foundation.


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