In a replica of Akpabiomba, the 13th month’s salary usually paid by the then governor Godswill Akpabio to workers in Akwa Ibom State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu governor has equally approved payment of same salary as Christmas bonus for his workers.
Announcing this, Ugwuanyi said despite the meager amount from the montly allocation accruable from the Federation Account, the state government decided to pay workers to encourage them to put in their best for the development of the state.
Meanwhile, the State Executive Council has approved the salary for payment.
It would be recalled that Gov. Ugwuanyi in his inaugural address, promised to lead a lean government to free up resources and channel them to the real development issues, stating that his administration will look inwards and harness those potentials which free oil money has blinded the country from exploiting.
The governor promised to reward the electorate “who defied rain and sunshine to ensure that their votes counted” and indeed the entire people of the state (who he describes as “the true heroes of democracy), with good governance. He also pledged that his administration “must match our faith with the right decisions and good work.”
Reacting to the Christmas bonus, Comrade Virginus Nwobodo, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), described the gesture as a surprise packag in the history of the state, especially in the light of the nation’s economic downturn that has made it difficult for many states to pay workers’ salaries.
Nwobodo lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the offer borne out of his magnanimity and an incentive to the workers to motivate them to discharge their duties efficiently, and urged the state workers to reciprocate the gesture by putting in their best to increase productivity.
Also speaking, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe, the state chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), who equally appreciated the state government’s gesture, noted that the beauty of the offer was that the workers never asked or agitated for it.
Igbokwe said: “It was freely given to us and because of that it is another milestone in this administration of Comrade Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who is always passionate about workers’ welfare.”
The labour leader, who stated that the workers are part of the Enugu project, maintained that the leadership of the union and the workers will continue to appreciate the gesture and reciprocate by discharging their responsibilities for the growth and development of the state.
Comrade Chidi Ilogebe, the state chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), said that “in a time when some state governments cannot pay workers and pensioners, with some owing up to 14 months arrears, the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is paying up to the 13th month”.
According to him, “Your Excellency, you left everybody deep in thought, thinking if Enugu is now a miracle ground where five loaves and two fish were being used to feed thousands”, adding: “The entire students populace of Enugu State numbering over one million have given their voices in commendation of your giant strides in the state”.
In a similar development, teachers of the state totaling more than 21,000 recently staged a mass solidarity rally for Gov. Ugwuanyi in appreciation of his good works and the remarkable achievements in the education sector.
The rally, which commenced with a road-walk in Enugu, saw the enthusiastic teachers dancing and singing solidarity songs in appreciation of the governor and his good works.
The teachers, who declared their firm support for the governor in 2019, conferred on him the title of “Odozi Obodo I” of Enugu State, meaning the Reformer of Society.