International trade unionist, Sani Baba is the first Nigerian to become Public Services International (PSI) Regional Secretary for Africa and Arab countries. In this interview with Stellamaries Amuwa, he emphasizes the need to stay focused on your goals until they are achieved.
What was your path to unionism like, and what is the most expected aspect of being a unionist?
My path to unionism was adventurous but also challenging. The quest to serve the working class and join the class struggle movement then under the Movement for Progressive Nigeria (MPN) led me into it. The most expected aspect of it is sticking to the rules, constant consulting and applying decisions arrived at collectively.
My work keeps me mostly outside Nigeria and it entails providing capacity to public sector trade unions on areas of social dialogue, lobby and advocacy, strategic campaigns, issues around tax justice, high level skills in negotiations, building alliances with civil society organizations towards just and a better society. We assist in promoting and placing workers issues at the levels of regional and sub-regional bodies like Africa Union (AU), ECOWAS, East Africa Community (EAC), and South Africa Development Corporation (SADC)
What have been the challenges so far?
The challenges are enormous but prominent amongst them is the gradual dying away of progressive movements and loss of focus for the so-called progressives’ now also pursuing wealth and used by people in position of authority and the capital class.
How do you intend to achieve your goals?
I achieve my goals by being prayerful, focused and never staying away from my ideologies, mentors and role models.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
My work life is my life so I create time for my creator, family, friends and loved ones when time permits. But it’s not easy because like I said, my work is over demanding.
What is your typical day like?
I am a Muslim, so I pray in the morning in a congregation, have tea, go to the office until I close, then go back home to pray, listen to news, talk to family members before going to bed.
What is your philosophy of life?
Nice to be good.
What would you consider as the highest point in your life?
That would be enjoying the confidence of my leaders and reaching the peak of my carrier beyond the shores of Nigeria. I am the first Nigerian to become Public Services International (PSI) Regional Secretary.
What is your most memorable childhood experience?
Memorable childhood experience was attending public schools with other children irrespective of class difference.
What makes you happy and sweeps you off your feet?
Being immensely grateful to my creator. What sweeps me off my feet is seeing fellow Nigerians become their own enemies through their actions and body language when they place lots above merit.
What is your greatest fear in life?
My fear in life is to die without forgiving someone who offended me or living this world with someone’s money/property in my possession.
What major life lessons have you learnt so far?
I have learnt a lot of life lessons but the most important of them is to wait for my time always and live within my means.
What is the secret behind your urbane look?
I eat selected food, laugh a lot, walk when I have time and sleep anytime I feel like. I drink lots of water also. I thank God I have never been hospitalised in my life.
What does fashion and style mean to you?
To me, fashion and style means being neat and wearing or applying what suits your choice, interest, mode and above all, not being extravagant. I love Kaunda suits and Jackets, they serve as my uniform.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to Blues mostly of BB King and Afro beats.
Where is your best tourist site?
My favorite sites are normally all palaces of Emirs, Obis and Obas, including Chiefs and that of Ochi Idoma. I have been to all the states and major cities and towns in Nigeria except Warri. All the state capitals have some kind of uniqueness that can attract tourists, though depending on what one is looking for.
Who are your mentors?
My mentor is Chief Frank C. Oramulu, former NULGE national deputy president and deputy of late Paschal Bafau, former NLC president.
Tell us a bit about your family?
I am from Zaria in Kaduna State. I am happily married with children and I love having orphans around me that I treat as my children as well.
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