By: Joe-ogba Michael Onyebor.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Ebonyi State Council, during its 5th Triennial State Delegate Conference held at Pastoral Centre, Mile 50, Abakaliki, elected and sworn in new executive to pilot the affairs of the union for the next three years.
According to the reelected chairman, Comrade Michael Nwonu, the Union holds its state delegate conference every three years and during the event, new executive of the Union will be elected and sworn in.
Declaring the event which theme was, “Minimum Wage: The struggle for Survival”, open, The Ebonyi State Head of Service, Dr. Chamberlain Nwele, represented by Dr. Ignatius Unah, charged the delegates to conduct themselves very well so as to have a peaceful and credible election that will usher-incredible leaders who have passion for the welfare of workers in the state.
While maintaining that the state government as always will continue to be labour friendly, he added, “we call on God to give them (the new exco) the enablement to be able to pilot the affairs of the Union to the satisfaction of all of you”.
The conference which featured delegates from various Unions under the umbrella of The TUC had all offices contested unopposed with the Chairman, Vice Chairman and others returned for second term.
Swearing in the new leaders, the State Comptroller, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Barrister (Mrs.) Irine Afoke, wished them successful leadership, maintaining that she believes, “with my boss, Senator Chris Ngige, coming back as the Minister for Labour and Employment, he will conclude the issue of the minimum wage.”
On his part, the National President of the Union, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, represented by the Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Ebahu Anthony, who earlier charged delegates to be of good conduct in the election of their leaders, urged the new leadership to continue championing the course of workers in the state.
Comrade Olaleye, in reassuring them of the support of the national secretariat to the state council opined, “The attention of the national secretariat can be called upon where internal social dialogue with appropriate authorities fails to yield desirable result. As senior staff, we believe in dialogue and dialogue we must use”.
He further thanked the State Governor for his commitment to workers welfare adding: “let me use this opportunity to commend you, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi for your success during the last gubernatorial election.
We commend you for your performance and urge you to show more commitment to workers welfare in the state. ”
Also, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Labour Relations, Comrade (Mrs.) Jenifer Adibe-Nwafor, who was represented by Mr. Brown Obiahu, while charging the state leadership of the Union to continue to follow the standard of cooperation and commitment they already have, assured them that,” we are going to keep working in harmony and continue to maintain industrial peace in Ebonyi State, because the Governor has already given us a soft landing that he will not continue to see you struggle but help you achieve your collective objectives.
In his address, the chairman of the Union who was sworn-in for the second time, Comrade Nwonu Michael, enumerated the achievements of his administration in the last three years and implored the state government to keep to her promise in implementing the new minimum wage.
In his words, “It must be noted that Delegates Conference is the most important and highest organ of Unions. It has always been an avenue to evaluate performance vis-à-vis the mandate and targets set by the movement for the leadership.
“The mandate given by the members to our leadership was to rebuild the Unions in the state so that it could gain the confidence of workers, win the respect of government and employers and earn the trust of the larger public. It is gratifying to note that our leadership had made tremendous effort towards actualization of this mandate.
“Within our short stay in office, the Executive Committee has achieved the following; recalling the sacked workers from College of Education and EBSEPA, payment of arrears of 2016, 2017 and 2018 promotion allowances, and appointment of Permanent Secretaries.
Comrade Nwonu, in his acceptance speech also thanked members for their understanding and monumental support, adding: “I urge every one of us that all hands should be on deck, so that we will get to where we are going to. I will continue to do my best in making sure that all unions and members are carried along.”
The Chairman Enugu Council of the Union, Comrade I.C. Igbokwe, reminded delegates that the conference was not just for the election but “a platform to take stock of what we have done in the past three years, to see where we have gotten it right and where we have gotten it wrong and then how to make amendment…”
He congratulated his counterpart and admonished members to continue to support (Comrade Nwonu’s) leadership as they continue to struggle for the implementation of the new minimum wage and other labour friendly policies.
While advising the Nwonu led administration to continue to unite and work towards the actualization of the goals of the Union. The former Chairman of Union, Comrade (Dr) E. E Oduma, charged members to rally round their leaders as it is not easy to hold the mantle of leadership.
Comrade Oduma also called on the Federal Government to reconcile the delay in the payment of the new minimum wage. He stated: “I place on record and appeal to the federal government to graciously consider wiping out all the bureaucratic bottlenecks which placed embargo in concluding action in paying the thirty thousand naira minimum wage…”
Meanwhile, the newly inaugurated executive members are, Comrade Nwonu Michael, Chairman, Oji Uzodinma, Vice Chairman, Chinedu Okpara, State Secretary, Isaiah Nwode, Financial Secretary, Chidi Igboji, State Treasurer, Acho G. C, Assistant Secretary, Charles Nwali, Publicity Secretary and Lauretta Nkaa, Auditor.