Ahead of the March 18 governorship election in Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike, on Thursday, announced that his administration will implement outstanding promotion in the State Civil Service and fulfil the promise of employing ten thousand youths into the service.
To make true the promise, Governor Wike said he has forwarded the list of members of the Civil Service Commission immediately to the State House of Assembly for screening because they will oversee the process to fruition.
The Governor made the announcement when he received on a courtesy visit a delegation led by the chairman of the Rivers State branch of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Alex Agwanwor and the chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Emechete Chuku at Government House in Port Harcourt.
He accused the former leader of NLC in the State, Beatrice Itubo of peddling lies against his administration that pensioners are owed 15 months of entitlements.
“We have been paying pension and gratuities every month. Not less than three points something billion Naira is set aside for that purpose, including payment of benefits.
“The former Accountant General of the State told me yesterday that those of 2016 and 2017 have been cleared, but you hear her (Beatrice Itubo) go to say that we have not paid for 15 months. That is unfair.
“How will a government, which has never happened in this state, that built a secretariat for NLC and TUC at the same time be anti-labour,” he queried.
Wike noted that Itubo was also involved in other antagonistic activities that destroyed the cordial relationship that once existed between workers and the state government.
He blamed Itubo for the delay workers had witnessed in getting their due promotion, but said with the new NLC executive in place, the promotion will be implemented for workers expeditiously.
“Now that she has left, to welcome you, we are going to start the promotion process. I didn’t want her to take credit. You should take the credit.
“So, there is nothing the government cannot do for you if we have a good relationship. There is how you go about it. You don’t go about plotting against the downfall of a government which will also affect the welfare of your members.”
Wike pointed to the reality of the State Civil Servhasving, for the first time, one of their own as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, and wondered why Rivers workers were not excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity they now have and own the electoral process to ensure that Sir. Siminialayi Fubara wins his election.
Wike said; “I thought that the civil service, the union ought to have taken it up themselves to say this campaign is our own, that we are getting one of us now who will be in charge of the affairs of this state.
“The deputy (running mate) is also experienced in civil service jobs. She has also been a permanent secretary, became a commissioner and a lecturer.
“We don’t need to come and speak to you. You are the ones to take it upon yourselves. Can we miss this opportunity now?”
He went on to explain: “I am not a civil servant, so, it even took me time to understand the rudiment of civil service bureaucracy and all that.
“Now, this is somebody who has passed through these levels; from the junior cader up to senior cader to Permanent Secretary and become Accountant General. So, who is more qualified to preside over the state?
“It is not all these people who are in private businesses. Private business is not public service. When you come in, you’ll know it’s a different ball game.”
In his address, Rivers NLC Chairman, Comrade Alex Agwanwor said his executive committee was elected two days ago and they came to present themselves to the governor and pledge their loyalty to his administration.
He noted as sad the sour relationship between the government and the Rivers workers. But as partners in progress, he assured that NLC in the State will right the wrongs, and return to that path of cooperation to attract better welfare for workers.
Comrade Agwanwor pledged that Rivers workers will rally support for Sir Siminialayi Fubara to become the next governor of the State.
Also speaking, Rivers chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council, Comrade Emechete Chuku, acknowledged the unequal infrastructural development strides of the Wike administration and said it was sad that the former NLC leadership could not sustain a cordial workers-government relationship.
He thanked Governor Wike for paying workers’ salaries regularly, initiating the payment of pensions, clearing up to batch 2014 and assured that workers in the state would be mobilised to deliver winning votes to Sir. Siminialayi Fubara as the next governor of the state.
*(Courtesy, excluding headline, Tribune Online)