By Douglas Okoro
Organised labour in Ebonyi has said that it was not prodded to confer Gov. Dave Umahi with the title of `Enyi Ndi Oru,’ (friend of workers).
Mr Leonard Nkah, Ebonyi State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
Organised labour, comprising the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Monday conferred the title on Umahi, during a rally organised by industrial unions in Ebonyi.
He dismissed as unfounded the sentiments being expressed in some quarters, that the honour was designed to give Umahi advantage, ahead of the 2019 governorship election, as it was clear he would seek re-election.
Nkah, however, said that there was nothing wrong with drumming support for a performing governor.
“ Umahi deserved to be honoured by Ebonyi workers as they receive their monthly salary on the 15th of every month.
“ Pensioners are also not owed in Ebonyi; a governor who showed manifest love and interest on the welfare of workers, deserved recognition by the entire Ebonyi workforce, ’’Nkah added.
Nkah, at the Monday’s rally, on behalf of the entire Ebonyi workforce, thanked the governor for his favourable disposition towards workers and pledged their continued support for his administration.
“We therefore gathered to re-affirm this support as you pulled the state from the brink of collapse, occasioned by backwardness, poverty, corruption, poor state of infrastructure, among others.
“You have steadily paid workers’ salaries and gratuities and made history by paying us 13th month bonus salary when other states with higher Federal Government allocation battled to pay basic salaries,” he said.
He also thanked the governor for integrating the workers’ in the state government’s agricultural policies which had enabled them engage in several agricultural ventures to supplement their earnings.
Umahi, had after being conferred with the honour by workers,’ promised to sustain his workers’ friendly policies.
“We do not owe workers’ salaries and allowances, and I commend the organised labour leadership in the state for realising that the era of pursuing agitations through strike, coercion, lying, intimidation, among others, is gone.’’
He said that to further show his appreciation for the conduct of the labour leadership, workers’ would receive 50 per cent of their salaries on Jan.2, 2018.
“This would serve as a palliative before the payment of your January 2018 salaries and your leave allowances would from the same period, be paid as part of your salaries.
“We would also maintain the payment of salaries and other allowances between the 15th and 20th of January and recommend you for commendation and promotion from your national leadership,” he said.
He announced that the government had donated 66, 000 bags of 25kg rice to workers as part of their Christmas celebration, directing that each worker would collect at least two bags each.