Comrade Abdul Kareem Motajo, former NUATE GS, to be buried this week

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…glowing tributes from across various trade unions 

The remains of Comrade Abdul Kareem Adebayo Motajo, the former General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), will arrive Nigeria this week and be committed to mother earth on Thursday, 11 February 2021. Comrade Motajo died April 20, 2020 in Cuba but the global lockdown led to the delay in the shipment of his remains back to his motherland. This was announced by his son, Adebowale Motajo in a press statement.  

Comrade Motajo born 11th February 1955, worked as a full-time secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). Shortly after, during the Abacha period, he became General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), a position he held till he was 60 years in 2015 when he retired.  

It was during his period as the General Secretary of NUATE, and for a few years after, he also served as a member of the Presidential Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). His sole efforts led to winning almost a dozen affiliates of both the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). Comrade Motajo was also instrumental in the establishment of the Nigerian-Cuba Friendship Business and Cultural Association. 

In a glowing tribute, the former President of Lufthansa German Nigeria Staff Union, Rafiu Afolabi Laguda, said, “Nigeria has lost a negotiator and labor leader who believed in mutual understanding, constructive dialogue and a promoter of negotiation without bitterness. Comrade Motajo fought for the eradication of casualization of labour in the aviation industry. He fought for the rights of the vulnerable, upheld equity and justice, respect for law and order. He promoted industrial peace through conflict resolution.” 

Also, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) described him as, “a soldier in the first line of the class struggles, always ready to work, with audacity into practical work, and always fought in the first line of the WFTU for the benefits of the workers and people of Nigeria from his position as acting General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Workers (NUATE). Through his union struggles he always fought for the interests of his members union but also for the sector of air transport workers in national and regional level.” 

“Comrade Motajo stand heads and shoulders above most comrades of his generation, was his readiness to organise and fight on the field. He was someone you could go into battle with, without the slightest fear that he would not hold his ground,” the tribute said. 

Similarly, the National Coordinator, Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM), described him as a quintessential fellow with unquantifiable attributes. Comrade Motajo was resourceful. He excelled in theory and practice.  The most quality and asset of a cadre is to be well grounded in theory and practice. Motajo was Cuban trained cadre. 

Equally, Ferney-Voltaire extolled the value of the late Comrade Motajo, he was described as a soldier’s soldier on the left for his boldness. This was not about his being clearly the closest socialist in the country to the Cuban people. It was his readiness to throw body, heart and soul with audacity into practical work, even when this could cost him his life. 

Comrade Motajo was trained at University de la Havana, Cuba and he has maintained strong ties with the country and cementing the relationship with Nigeria.  

Left to mourn him are his aged mother, darling wife, children, grandchildren and a host of relatives.