BY DENNIS OTU
They were expectant. They longed for a relief. They had gone on borrowing here and there to make ends meet. Going to work every day had become a major problem to many of them, no thanks to the untold hardship brought upon them by the removal of fuel subsidy by the APC led Federal Government and suddenly they got more than what they ever bargained for. And they are elated that he came to their rescue at the right time. They cannot stop singing the praises of the Delta State Governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori to high heavens for lifting their spirits to another planet.
“I am pleased to report that this administration has taken decisive steps to improve the welfare of our workers, which is an integral part of the MORE agenda. To cushion the hardship our people are facing as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy and the downward spiral of the naira against the dollar, I have approved the payment of Ten Thousand (N10, 000.00) naira to the fifty thousand, one hundred and ninety-six workers (50,196) in the state public service for the next three months starting from August. The staff figure includes employees of the ten higher institutions in the state”, those were the words of the State Governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori at the Swearing-in ceremony of Commissioners.
The words of the Governor touched the hearts of the workers, coming at a very bleak time in their lives when feeding in most homes has become unbearable. To the workers, they have seen poverty walking with four legs in their lives since President Bola Tinubu without a second thought decided to flush fuel subsidy down the drain. But Governor Oborevwori who expressed concern about the spiral effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the people has taken bold steps to wipe away the endless cries of the workers and now they are happy for it. Their tears were wiped away when the Governor said that they are now to run shifts. This is apart from the #10, 000 that they are to be receiving from August, 2023. Indeed, celebration time is here for the workers.
“Furthermore, I have approved that workers from salary grade Levels 1-14 should run shifts as follows: First Batch: (Monday – Wednesday) Second Batch: (Thursday – Friday). This schedule will be implemented on a rotational basis. Those who work from Monday-Wednesday in one week will work Thursday to Friday the following week to ensure fairness and equity. The schedule for officers from salary grade Levels 15 and above is to be worked out by the various MDAs as it is suitable for them. However, staff on essential services must be on duty while working remotely is also encouraged. The other arms of government – the judiciary and legislature – are to work out their modalities as they deem fit”, the Governor said.
Governor Oborevwori also used the opportunity to say that; “As you are aware, local government workers are not under the administration of the state. However, we have held consultations with the leadership of ALGON and it is our earnest expectation that ALGON will implement the same palliative measures for its workers”.
“In line with my electoral promise, I recently approved the payment of outstanding promotion arrears to twenty-three thousand, eight hundred and eighty-seven (23,887) workers in the state public service. The total amount payable is five billion, five hundred and twenty-two million, six hundred and thirty-seven thousand, eight hundred and forty-eight naira, and five kobo (N5, 522,637, 848.05). The payment commences from this month of August and will be made in four tranches as follows: Ministries:Judiciary, Parastatals, (August), Hospital Management (September), Higer Institutions ( October), Post Primary Education Board ( November)”, he said.
” To the glory of God, the thorny issue of unpaid local government pensions is nearing final resolution. My administration helped to secure legislative approval for the local government councils to obtain a N40b bank loan to enable them liquidate their backlog of pension liabilities. The loan, which is guaranteed by the state government, is payable over a five-year period, and will be deducted from the accounts of the local government councils. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the payment of the pensions should commence soon.
“I have also given the nod for the local government councils to recruit teaching and non-teaching staff to fill up existing vacancies. At least 2,000 persons will be gainfully employed through this process. In due course, we shall carry out comprehensive audit of physical infrastructure in our primary and secondary schools to enable us know where there are gaps and respond accordingly. My administration will spare no expense in providing the conducive climate essential for high quality learning experiences in our schools”, Governor Oborevwori said.
These are really difficult times for the workers and with succour given to them by the Governor who knows their pains, they cannot but continue to pray for him and his administration and truly they cannot forget in a jiffy that beautiful Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 when Governor Oborevwori gave them breath of fresh air that lifted their already battered spirits. Now they have bounced back to life, thanks to Governor Oborevwori who feels their pains.
DENNIS OTU IS THE SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT (MEDIA) TO THE GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE.