THE Bible did not make a mistake when it amply said in Proverb 22:29 “that a man found diligent in his ways will dine before kings.” This clearly depicts the commitment his Excellency Governor Ben Ayade has shown towards workers welfare in cross river state that have earned him great accolades across the country and from organised labour and other Nigerians. The governor in his inaugural speech vowed that no worker in the state will go hungry which have resulted in his faithfully ensuring the regular and prompt payments of salaries of the state’s work force before the 25th of every month.
Some of the workers who spoke said they are surprised how the governor gets the money to pay regular salaries considering that the allocation accruing to the state from federation account is dwindling every month with the decling price of crude oil. must be commended. He is a pride to workers in cross river state and Nigeria.To buttress this, a recent Channels television news analysis of states owing workers salaries in the country, Governor Ayade was used as a model to show it is possible to pay workers on time.
Ayade’s love by the organized labour in Nigeria is not only because of his commitment to payment of salaries but that in spite of the dwindling resources in the country where so many states have downsize their workforce while many others are contemplating retrenching, the governor, popularly known as digital Governor has rather initiated innovative measures to create more jobs for Cross Riverians. Some of the initiatives include the establishment of the Calabar garment factory where over 2500 cross Riverians will be employed and the Green Police where another 1000 jobs have been created. In the same vein, the establishment of the ongoing construction of the Calabar pharmactical industry and the Thai Africa Rice city where over 3000 people will be engaged and given a means by the government to provide food for their families. No wonder these positive developments by the governor recently prompted the Organised Labour in Cross River State to declare the state governor, as the Most-Labour Friendly Governor in Nigeria.
For this feat, organised labour have concluded arrangements to honour the governor with an award and dinner as part of this year’s May Day celebration . A clear pointer that Governor Ayade is the newest bride in town and the most sought after bride of Nigerian labour movement.
Disclosing the excitement of organised labour in the state Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Comrade John Ushie said the workers in the state are very happy with the governor for his pro –workers policy and pledged total support of all the workers in the state to his administration. The NLC state chairman stated this when he led executive members of the NLC, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Public Service Negotiating Council in the state on a courtesy call on the governor in Calabar.
According to Ushie, “The Organised Labour has resolved to single you out in the whole Nigeria and West Africa as the Digital and Best-Labour Friendly Governor. We have resolved that on May Day, we shall formally honour you with an award. ”
He explained that Ayade was chosen for the award for a number of reasons including prompt payment of workers salary and the courage to embark on economy changing projects like the 260km superhighway, the Bakassi Deep Seaport, the Calabar Garment and Textile Factory and the establishment of Green Police.
The NLC chairman who reiterated the resolve of the Organised Labour in Cross River to work in harmony with the governor, prayed God to grant him the needed wisdom to steer the ship of the state.
“We will not deceive you as we will speak out on anything we feel strongly about. As you know, Labour leaders cannot be coerced, and nobody will instigate us against your government. We also believe that nobody will instigate you against us.”
Responding, Governor Ayade applauded the Organised Labour in the state for the honour and promised to do more for workers in the state despite the downturn in the nation’s economy.
“I thank you for all your kind words. For labour to find me worthy of an award calls for celebration because you are a people who cannot be bribed. You are not a people who can be sold, you very courageous people,” the governor said.
Touched by the plights of retirees who have to wait for their benefits for long after service to their fatherland, Ayade said “society will be so unfair if this continues,” stressing that “the primary thing for a man who fears God is to ensure that those who toil do not do so in vain.”
The governor assured that issues of pensions, promotions and gratuity will be looked into.
He also lauded the Organised Labour in the state for their concern towards good governance in the state.
Emmanuel Ifenyi, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Calabar, Cross River State