It would be recalled that 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 (the legacy projects governor)
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.
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.
Hence, the multiple award-winning worker-friendly governor, soon after his inauguration, recognized 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.
Also, for over seven years now, workers and pensioners in the state are given a bag of Anambra rice every December; last Christmas was not an exception. 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.
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.
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.
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 Obiano is doing all these, he has also continued provide other necessities of man. Today, Anambra has a brand new airport, stadium and convention centre among many other projects.
The administration has indeed extended its hands of fellowship to workers in the state. Workers in Anambra would surely miss the soothing nerves of Akpokuedike as he bows out due to exigencies of the constitution of Nigeria. On the other hands, there is hope on his successor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, whom the workers solidly stood for during the November poll. Soludo has, no doubt managed workers successfully in the past and they were happy. Anambra workers believe they will be happier when he comes on board on March 17, 2022.
As we welcome all workers and government functionaries into the New Year, Ndi Olu Anambra, like Oliver Twist, would want some more this year. They expect and hope to get juicy parting pronouncements that will be redolent to workers from the most labour-friendly governor.
Workers, on their part, will continue to be loyal, dedicated and sincere in the discharge of their duties. Happy New Year.
WRITTEN BY HUMPHREY NWAFOR