By Godwin Utuedoye,
Governor Okowa who was cheered by workers during the event, took out time to list some of his administration’s achievements in correspondence with his electoral promises to workers.
In his words, “My administration is aware of the sacrifices of workers and their contributions to the development of our the state and country; our workers remain unarguably very important assets in any policy, programme and project implementation, that is why the present administration has sought and will continue to seek the hands of labour so that together, we can achieve huge success.
“I sincerely request your cooperation and understanding as partners in progress; we are always conscious of ensuring harmony to bring out the best in the workforce and I assure you that working together, this administration will continue to protect workers’ rights and shall promote incentives for greater productivity leading to greater prosperity,” the governor said.
He continued, “My dear workers, you are no doubt aware that the state government has approved owner-occupier for the workers residing in the junior staff estate; at the same time, the buildings on the new housing estate on Ibusa road are to be completed and handed over to workers; the present administration has continued to keep our promises to our workers; we are paying salaries promptly, and when the next Paris Club money is received, we shall assist the local government councils that are indebted to their workers to pay off all that they owe.
“It is important that we make clear distinction between state government and local government, what we do as a state must be seen as assistant because, it is not the duty of the state government to pay salaries of local government councils,” Governor Okowa clarified.
He clarified that his administration spends about N1 billion monthly for the payment of pensions, noting that the backlog of pension arrears was much but, his administration was making arrangements to clear the backlog.
Governor Okowa also, thanked civil servants for their cooperation in ensuring that the clock in, clock out mechanism introduced in the state was effective, stating, with the clock-in arrangement, we will ensure that only those who work receive salaries.
On his part, NLC chairman, Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyegbe assured the governor of workers continuos support to his administration. He said the theme of this years workers day celebration is, “Labour Movement In National Development, Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win”, noting that the organised labour in the state appreciates the developmental strides of his administration in the state and all he had achieved through the SMART Agenda in the past three years.
The chairman of TUC, Comrade Chinedu Nwobodo in his address, thanked Governor Okowas administration for paying salaries of workers regularly especially in the critical year of 2016 when the economy was at the verge of collapse.
Governor Okowa later moved to the Stephen Keshi stadium Asaba where he said, “A lot of work has been done; the main bowl is taking shape, construction work is at advanced stage at the swimming pool section, the gallery and l believe that in three weeks time, that is before May 29, the stadium will be ready for the African Athletic Championship.”
With Nine lane and FIFA approved football pitch of natural grass, the Stephen Keshi stadium was described as unique and one of the best after completion. The site Engineer later conducted the governor and his team round the facility for a thorough inspection.