Enugu State Workers under the auspices of the Organised Labour has expressed gratitude to the state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his “passionate and unprecedented interventions in improving their welfare despite the fact that he assumed office in 2015 and experienced avalanche of challenges such as the economic recession, lean resources, outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, security issues, among others.”
The workers expressed delight that 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.
Stressing that the he was the first governor of Enugu State to witness economic recession on two occasions in five years, and faced with the challenges of not being in the same political party with the government at the national level, the workers hinted that 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 country’s economic recession when 27 states could not pay workers’ salaries.
The workers further 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 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 in Enugu, which was graced by the governor, the state Chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Bennett Asogwa, stressed that the governor gave them the best so far considering their experience with previous administrations in the state.
Asogwa told Governor Ugwuanyi that “we have had a good time with you,” adding that: “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.”
Offering prayers for Ugwuanyi, the Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Godwin Madu, appreciated the governor for the peace and good governance he has entrenched in the state.
Bishop Madu also appreciated Ugwuanyi for managing the little resources at his disposal for development issues, and for entrusting Enugu State into the hands of God, stressing that: “We have not had it so good in the state.”
The cleric assured Ugwuanyi, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Enugu North senatorial district in the forthcoming elections, that “the reward for good work is more work. You will get to the Red Chamber in the National Assembly.”
Dignitaries at the prayer rally included the state Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Hon. Uchechukwu Ogbonna; the Head of Service, Ken Chukwuegbo; Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Uwakwe Azikiwe; state Accountant-General, Dr. Remigius Odo; Chairman, state Civil Service Commission, Mr. Robinson Odoh; the Clerk of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Emmanuel Udaya; state Auditor-General, Dr. Livinus Okoro; state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Virginus Nwobodo represented by the Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Committee (JPSNC), Ezekiel Omeh, permanent secretaries, among others.