Organised Labour in Enugu state on Wednesday, held a prayer rally in Thanksgiving to God for a new working year. They also used the event to appreciate the state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his good works in the state and for improving the welfare of the workers despite the challenges of 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 deserves 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.
Speaking at the event held at the state secretariate, Enugu, Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bennett Asogwa, said that the governor gave the workers the best so far, considering their experience with previous administrations in the state.
Asogwa, who spoke on behalf of the workers, said that Governor Ugwuanyi was the first governor of Enugu State to witness economic recession on two occasions in five years, faced with the challenges of not being in the same political party with the federal government .
He added that Governor Ugwuanyi’s utmost commitment to the welfare of the workers, 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.
The TUC chaitman said 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.
He added that bGovrgapproved 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.
“We have had a good time with you.
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 economic recession but you were able to pay workers’ salaries and carry out development projects.
“This is the first time 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.
“Our prayer is that the person who will take over from you will continue to give workers’ welfare priority,” Asogwa said.
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.
He also appreciated Governor Ugwuanyi for managing the little resources at his disposal for development and for entrusting Enugu State to the hands of God,saying, “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.
He told 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.”
The Cleric prayed for successful elections in Enugu State in particular and Nigeria in general, saying: “We know where we are. 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; as well as good governance by other officiating ministers, Rev. Fr. Kizito Anijiobi and Rev. Peter Agoziem.
Dignitaries at the event included 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.p