Commentary: Appreciating Governor Obiano`s Workers-friendly Disposition

No doubt, challenges are what make life interesting but overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Time was in Anambra state when pensioners and workers were owed up to one year salary and pension arrears; when workers were on strike for over nine months and public schools were under lock and key. Today, all those are history, courtesy of the wonder working governor, Chief Willie Obiano.
Mother Theresa once said that ‘not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love’. According to Gordon Hinckley, the happiest people are those who lose themselves in the service of others. Sir Willie is a governor who is ever desirous to make workers and other Ndi Anambra happy; hence, he renders selfless services. Akpokuedike speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. Thus, no worker in Anambra would ever want to go back to Egypt.
Workers, globally, are the engine room of every society. They constitute about seven per cent of the population of every country, state or local government. This infinitesimal percentage, however, does not, in any way, dwarf their influential capabilities towards policy formulation, economic growth and national development.
The multiple award-winning worker-friendly governor, soon after his inauguration, keyed into this concept by recognizing the imperative of a motivated workforce. Obiano changed the paradigm from Dead Woods to living workforce. His aphorism as an Omambala man is Ana alu olu, ana alu mmadu. He proved this by increasing workers’ salaries by fifteen percent in 2015. Subsequently, he increased workers’ salaries severally.
In addition, his administration formulated a policy of ensuring that before every month end, workers and pensioners smile to the banks to receive their salaries. This feat has made workers nickname him an “alert governor”. By so doing, the reputation and integrity of Anambra workers has improved. They no longer owe here and there. They can plan well ahead now. Their steady salaries can serve as collateral in any financial institution, giving them leeway to borrow for meaningful self-development.
Also, for seven years now, workers and pensioners in the state are given a bag of Anambra rice every December. No other state government has achieved this feat. In Anambra, promotion is no longer a privilege but an entitlement.
Notably, the Obiano administration is the first ever in the state to procure mass transit buses to convey workers and other low income earners to and from major towns in the three senatorial districts of the state.
It is against this backdrop that the state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC and other labour leaders, conferred the honour of the “Most Workers Friendly Governor in Nigeria” on Akpokuedike. The Presidency and the House of Representatives honoured Governor Obiano as the foremost champion of workers’ welfare in Nigeria.
Sometime ago, the governor approved to schedule the Anambra Broadcasting Service and the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation Staff into the Pension Scheme as well as to liquidate their arrears of gratuities and pensions owed to their retired staff. He equally approved the staff promotion of over twelve years of the workers in ABS.
The irony of this rare show of commitment of the governor to the workers in the state is that some states still owe their workers some months of arrears of salaries. While some state governments are involved in one faceoff or the other with the labour unions in their states, the labour unions in Anambra State maintain a high level of cordiality with the Obiano administration.  The administration has indeed extended its hands of fellowship to workers in the state. With a good successor, the future of Anambra workers would have been secured and Anambra would continue to shine as the light of the nation. All that is required now is for workers to reciprocate the gesture by striving to sustain the tempo. Workers, we never know the worth of water till the well is dry, but never! Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you. A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes determination and sincerity.
WRITTEN BY COMR. GODWIN IBEKWE

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