There was excitement in Enugu State as workers and pensioners in the state converged on the popular Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, to mark the 2018 Workers’ Day celebration, where they celebrated the good works of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
The excited public and civil servants and retirees, including private workers, through the addresses presented separately by the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Virginus Nwobodo, represented by his deputy, Maurice Eze and his counterpart from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe, respectively eulogized Governor Ugwuanyi for his “exemplary leadership style” and “labour-friendly disposition” in the state.
They stated that the governor’s friendly disposition to their welfare was “the first of its kind since the inception of this state”, saying: “We will continue to say we have never had it any better before now”.
The workers and retirees reiterated their stance on their earlier endorsement of Governor Ugwuanyi’s re-election in 2019, stressing that “the reason for the clamour for continuity is based on the outstanding performances of Your Excellency”.
They highlighted the remarkable achievements of the governor that have impacted positively on their lives such as “prompt payment of monthly salaries/pensions, other allowances to state public and civil servants; absorption of 54% of total cost of 100 housing units at Elim Estate allocated to workers; payment of outstanding arrears of salaries, pensions, and allowances to Local Government Staff, through prudent utilization of 100 per cent of LG share of the Paris Club Refunds; promotion of teachers and recruitment of over 4000 school teachers as well as elongation of terminal grade of qualified primary school teachers to level 16”.
Other achievements, according to the organized labour include, “payment of 13th Month salary as Christmas bonus to the state workers; elaborate infrastructural developments of both urban and rural areas of the state through unique fiscal management of the state’s meager resources; transformation of the education, agriculture and health sectors, other areas of governance which have improved the quality of lives of the people of Enugu State; approval of payment of arrears of salaries of 731 former staff of some state parastatals and also, the regularization of 42 casual staff of the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane Enugu, as permanent staff of the institution”, among others.
The jubilant workers and pensioners, who marched to commemorate the event to the delight of the governor and other officials in the audience, added that “we are happy to celebrate the good days now, where salaries and pensions are paid without lobbying”, saying: “ All thanks to His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Gburugburu)”.
“Your Excellency, we celebrate your prudent management of the state resources which reflects in the provision of democracy dividends at the state, local government and community levels. The cordial relationship that exists between the Executive and the Legislature, and the peace and security in Enugu State should be emulated by other state governors”, the workers stated.
They also appreciated Governor Ugwuanyi for “ensuring adequate security of lives and property in every nook and cranny of Enugu State, thereby making the state about the safest place to live in the entire country”.
The labour unions also commended the administration’s empowerment programmes in the state “that cuts across the workers, traders and communities”, maintaining that “the ongoing transformation in the state is very glaring and has projected Enugu State presently as the best state in Nigeria”.
“Most celebrated is the recent State Executive Council approvals for setting aside of N100 million monthly for the payment of gratuity to retired civil servants; biometric capture for 80 staff of ESWAMA absorbed in the civil service; payment of the sum of N82.7 million being deductions from workers’ salaries by the state government as National Housing Fund contributions between 2000 and 2004 but not remitted to the Federal Mortgage Bank”.
While making some demands, the workers thanked the governor for the much his administration has done for them and prayed God to “continue to grant you good health, abundant wisdom, knowledge and grace, to continue your good work to His glory and the service of humanity”.
In his address, Governor Ugwuanyi, who felicitated with the workers in the state and all over the world, also joined them in the celebration, saying: “We are here to commemorate the sacrifices and contributions of the Nigerian worker to the development of the nation and particularly, to express our solidarity and sincere gratitude to the great workers of Enugu State”.
According to him, “I have come here as one of you because I am also a worker and I want to thank you all for your prayers and for the wonderful support, cooperation and understanding that you have continued to offer us as we strive to fulfill the mandate that the good people of Enugu State had graciously given to us”.
While thanking the workers and pensioners for “the awards and laurels that you have kindly conferred on me and also for your votes of confidence and endorsement for another term in office”, the governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to their welfare, urging them to remain steadfast and approach their duties with zeal and commitment “so that collectively, we can build the Enugu State of our dreams”.
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