Workers of Enugu State under the auspices of the Organised Labour, on Wednesday, poured out their hearts of gratitude to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his passionate and unprecedented interventions in improving their welfare.
They said this was despite the fact that he assumed office in 2015 and experienced an avalanche of challenges such as the nation’s economic recession, lean resources, outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, security issues, among others.
The workers expressed delight that Governor Ugwuanyi gave their welfare the priority it deserved by introducing the payment of the 13th month salary which he paid till the outbreak of COVID-19 as well as the payment of the N30,000 new minimum wage with its consequential adjustment.
Stressing that Governor Ugwuanyi was the first governor of Enugu State to witness economic recession on two occasions in five years, the Enugu workers hinted that Governor Ugwuanyi’s utmost commitment to their welfare first manifested shortly after he assumed office when his administration paid 54 percent equity contribution for 100 lucky civil servants who won the 100 units one bedroom apartments at Elim Estate, Enugu through open lottery.
They added that the governor ensured regular payment of their salaries and retirees’ pensions at the end of the month even at the peak of the nation’s economic recession when 27 states could not pay workers’ salaries.
They added that he approved improved hazard allowance and life assurance policy for frontline workers, and 60 percent Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers amid economic hardship as well as the N100 million earmarked monthly for payment of backlog of gratuities inherited by his administration which was equally put on hold because of the adverse effects of COVID-19.
The workers stated that besides numerous benefits from Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration towards the improvement of their welfare, they also experienced an uncommon level of peace and industry harmony with the governor.
Speaking on their behalf during this year’s workers’ prayer rally at the State Secretariat, Enugu, which was graced by Governor Ugwuanyi, the State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Bennett Asogwa, stressed that the governor gave them the best so far considering their experience with previous administrations in the state.
Comrade Asogwa told Governor Ugwuanyi that “we have had a good time with you,” adding: “We may not have got everything but any child who goes to school and comes back with the result of 90 percent has scored so well.
“You came in as governor of Enugu State when there was an economic recession but you were able to pay workers’ salaries and carry out development projects.
“This is the first time the Enugu State government is in the opposition political party at the national level, and the challenges attached to that are discouraging. But despite all these, you were able to do the much you did for us and the state in terms of peace and good governance.
“We thank you that the minimum wage was extended to local government workers. We pray that you enhance it and attend to other things we are demanding from the government before the end of your tenure.
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“Our prayer is that the person who will take over from you will continue to give workers’ welfare priority.”
Offering prayers for Governor Ugwuanyi, the Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Dr. Godwin Madu, appreciated the governor for the peace and good governance he has entrenched in the state.
Bishop Madu also appreciated Governor Ugwuanyi for managing the little resources at his disposal for development issues, and for entrusting Enugu State to the hands of God, stressing that “We have not had it so good in the state.”
Bishop Madu, who sat on the ground to offer prayers for Governor Ugwuanyi, prayed against any force against the governor as well as the peace and progress of the state.
The cleric assured Governor Ugwuanyi, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Enugu North Senatorial District in the forthcoming general election, that “the reward for good work is more work. You will get to the Red Chamber in the National Assembly.”
He equally prayed for peaceful and successful elections in Enugu State in particular and Nigeria in general, stating: “We know where we are.”
Praying further, Bishop Madu said: “Lord, he (Ugwuanyi) came in and became a mixer to form a concrete government that gave us peace. Enugu State is still enjoying peace.
“We pray, let this peace continue not only till May 29. Let this peace and good governance continue after May 29 in the name of Jesus.”
Prayers were also offered for Enugu State workers and leaders of the state; Nigeria and its leaders; free and fair elections in Nigeria and Enugu State as well as good governance by other officiating ministers, Rev. Fr. Kizito Anijiobi and Rev. Peter Agoziem.
Dignitaries at the prayer rally include the Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Hon. Uchechukwu Ogbonna; the Head of Service, Ken Chukwuegbo; Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Barr. Uwakwe Azikiwe; Accountant General of the State, Dr. Remigius Odo; Chairman, State Civil Service Commission, Mr. Robinson Odoh; the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Barr. Dr. Emmanuel Udaya; State Auditor General, Dr. Livinus Okoro; and Permanent Secretaries.
Others were the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Virginus Nwobodo represented by the Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Committee (JPSNC), Comrade Ezekiel Omeh; President, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Enugu State Chapter, Comrade Kenneth Ugwueze; and Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Theophilus Nweke Odoh, etc.