…POUR ENCOMIUMS ON GOV EMMANUEL

By Umoh-Obong Kingsley

The Uyo Township Stadium of Akwa Ibom State was on Tuesday, 1st May, 2018, filled to its capacity with workers who trooped out in their great numbers to celebrate the 2018 Workers’ Day otherwise known as May Day, an occasion for workers to reflect on their past activities, achievements and problems, as well as make their collective demands for improvement in their terms of employment and condition of service.

The epoch making jointly organised by the Akwa Ibom State Councils of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) with the theme: “Labour Movement in National Development: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win”, enjoyed large turnouts of workers in the state and accolades to the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, whom they described as a worker-friendly Governor.

The State Controller, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mrs Tonye Tom Manuel, in her solidarity message, commended Gov Emmanuel for his labour-friendly disposition, which has provided a better platform for industrial harmony in the state.

She also thanked the of the Governor, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, for her various initiatives and contributions towards family empowerments and youths reorientation in Akwa Ibom State, and sought to partner with the pet project of the Governor’s Wife, Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Path-Initiave (FEYReP), towards elimination of child labour in the state.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Industrial Relations, Hon. Sunyiekekere Inokon, on his part, felicitated the labour movement and the entire work force of Akwa Ibom State on the auspicious occasion to mark the 2018 Workers’ Day celebration.

He stated that the theme of the occasion was very apt and significant considering its call for the collective actions using innovative best practices in dealing with industrial relations. According to him, contemporary employer/employee relations have shifted from its hitherto confrontational disposition to neutral compromise, cooperation and partnership in the social enterprise.

Hon. Inokon used the opportunity to appreciate the State Government under the leadership of Mr Udom Emmanuel, for his worker-friendly disposition, which, he said, has engendered the unprecedented industrial harmony experienced in the state, and charged the workers for dedication to duty, transparency, accountability and hard working as criteria for their productivity and contributions to the development of the state.

Also delivering solidarity message was the Honourable Commissioner for Labour, Productivity and Manpower Planning, Sir Ibanga Akpabio, who specifically thanked Gov Emmanuel for demonstrating his love for the meticulous workers of the state by creating the Ministry of Labour, Productivity and Manpower Planning, saying that it is the first time in the history of Akwa Ibom State that the organised labour would be privileged to have full-fledged ministry.

He commended the Governor for his unwavering commitment to the development of the state and fulfilling his campaign promises to the labour movement in 2015, and emphasised that the industrial peace being enjoyed in the state is a panacea for sustainable development, and enjoined workers to remain law abiding and refer all issues of grievances to the Ministry for timely resolution.

Sir Akpabio stated that the Ministry is poised to boost the necessary human development required to support the industrialisation process of the state, adding that the state government will continue to foster harmony of peace and industrial harmony necessary for increased productivity, wealth creation and the economic development of Akwa Ibom State.

Head of Civil Service, Mrs Ekereobong Akpan, announced the approval for the promotion of 9,986 workers in the state by Gov Emmanuel which will soon be released, and thanked the Governor for his sincere concern for the welfare of workers especially for the prompt and regular payment of salaries and pensions, as well as the ongoing effort at clearing the backlog of gratuities.

Mrs Akpan noted that since assumption of office, Gov Emmanuel has released and approved the promotion of over 20,000 workers, adding that plans are in top gear for the provision of affordable housing for public servants in the state.

It would be recalled that Gov Emmanuel, in demonstrating of his sincere concern for workers, in assumption of office in 2015, directed the payment of backlog of gratuities to local government retirees from 2001 to 2011, and is still keeping the pace in that direction, as the payment of salary arrears to staff employed in 2014 is ongoing.

Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Etim Ukpong, in his remarks, expressed appreciation to the Governor for creating enabling environment for workers and industrialisation to strive in the state, prompt and regular payment of salaries and pensions as well as promotions for workers, and promised to double the efforts in actualising the mandate given them.

In their separate goodwill messages, Sir Udo Kyrian Akpan, who doubles as the House Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKHA); Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem; Speaker of AKHA, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke, eulogised Gov Emmanuel for working in harmony with the working population in the state.

Dr Ekumen noted that “When you talk about the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a state or nation, you are talking about the Cumulative Gross Domestic Product (CGDP) or Aggregate Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) of each individual/worker. Often we hear that a bad workman quarrels with his tools, but a good workman knows his tools.

“Gov Emmanuel is a great worker and wants to transform the state, therefore he knows that every work accounts the productivity of every worker with aggregate to the overall socioeconomic development of the state. Every file taken to the Governor is kept closely because to him, a file is not a piece of paper, but human lives.”

The state Chief Judge, Justice Godwin Abraham, commended the workers that, despite the challenges faced in the country, are still moving on and have guts to celebrate, and charged them to continue in their commitment to offer sacrifices and approach their duties with diligence, stating that they are favoured to have a Governor who is committed to the welfare of workers, therefore should be given the necessary encouragement and pray that his vision for the workers should be accomplished.

Governor Emmanuel, in his response, thanked the workers for meaningful contribution towards the advancement of human condition, stressing that he fills their joy, pain, dreams, is never comfortable seeing them in pains. He said all their requests are granted.

Part of activities to spice up the auspicious event included official presentation of two buses by the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, to NLC and TUC respectively, and match pass by all workers unions in the state including entertainers and student unions.

The event was graced by the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo; Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Council of NLC, Comrade Etim Ukpong; Chairman of TUC, Comrade Akamba Awah; members of the state executive council, members of the state House of Assembly, commissioners, permanent secretaries and others too many to mention.

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