Delta State chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have affirmed their support for the governorship candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 11 election, Sheriff Oborevwori.
The organised labour unions said they had always worked cordially with and benefitted from PDP governments and would have no other choice than to support the continuation of party at the Government House, Asaba.
The decision to support Oborevwori was
reached during an interactive session between the workers and the PDP candidate in Asaba.
Speaking during the session, chairman of NLC in Delta, Goodluck Ofobruku said labour movement in the state has been
“blessed with promise keeping governors right from the administration of James Ibori who supported greatly in the building of the Labour House. Also, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan came in and continued the good work from there.
“I will like to say that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was exceptional in fulfilling most, if not all of the demands of labour before becoming governor.
“When Okowa came in as governor and then the revenue of the state had dropped to N2 billion monthly while the state’s wage bill was N8 billion, he made workers salaries a priority. In spite of promoting workers whose promotions were due as and when due, he went ahead to agree with labour to calculate pensions with N18,000 minimum wage as against N7,500 that he met on ground.
“Going forward, out of the N78 billion arrears owed pensioners, he has offset about N70 billion. The issue of local government workers came up and people were saying all sorts of things because they don’t know the workings of the civil service. Let me tell you that Okowa has supported local governments immensely to pay workers, including offsetting some pension arrears even when he was not their direct employer.
“I want to conclude by saying that Governor Okowa has given workers in the state the best environment to work and add value to the system, and that is the new secretariat. No worker now has any reason to complain not to do their job well.
“The only thing that Okowa has not completed its process, is the housing scheme for workers, even though he has built a low cost one for junior workers, which is on the verge of being handed over. We will like Oborevwori to look in this direction by making most workers landlords before completing his tenures.
“We will definitely support Oborevwori, because he is personally a good man. Majority of us here know him, and for the fact that he turned around the fortunes of workers in the state House of Assembly, is worthy of commendation. Our affiliate union chairman of PASAN can attest to what he did to stop the incessant strikes in that union. We believe he will do more for workers across the state.”
On his part, the TUC chairman, Martins Bolum said he had the authority and mandate of TUC members to adopt Oborevwori as their governorship candidate of choice, adding that he is being considered an important instrument for the next level development of workers in the state.
Bolum eulogized Oborevwori for the quality laws he had passed as the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, which mostly had immensely benefitted workers.
“We want more from your wealth of experience and good nature leadership. As active participants in the electioneering process, I want to assure you that TUC is solidly behind you.
“We want a governor we know and a governor we can trust. We will more than ever before, intensify efforts towards telling our members and others the good news about Oborevwori’s governorship,” he said.
Addressing the workers, Oborevwori outlined his plans for the workforce in the state, saying that if elected, his administration would bequeath to workers houses of their own under a low cost housing scheme through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and direct government intervention.
Oborevwori promised to appoint a vast labour leader into his Interim Transition Committee to profile the myriads of workers’ demands for priority attention in his administration, if elected.
The candidate took the audience through his own life experiences, noting that his street credibility was earned.
“I am a local man, made locally as a boy. I have street credibility because of where I am coming from. Being street wise does not mean I am a tout; my street credibility is all about accessibility and ability to interact with all. They can’t beat my local flavour.
“My story is an interesting one. As at 1984, I already had my Ordinary National Diploma. I had been a Councillor and then the youngest host community Chairman in Osubi. I worked with SHELL and the footprints of our achievements with the Osubi airport are still there for everybody to see. I was trained in the art of negotiations.
“The records are there that I went to Edo State University, Ekpoma where I graduated with 2.1 before obtaining my M.Sc in Political Science from Delta State University, Abraka. Because I have been a local man, doing things at the local level, they believe I didn’t go to school. In all the court cases, God has continued to see me through.
“Let me tell you, an illiterate and uncertificated person cannot lead the Delta State House of Assembly where the likes of Hon. Reuben Izeze are key threats for almost six years. Have you heard of any impeachment notice? It takes a man with intellectual capacity and impeccable track record of conflict management to lead such a place and becoming the longest on the saddle as Speaker.
“I want to assure you that Governor Okowa has done so much to develop Delta, I will do MORE in my development agenda. I am prepared, I have my social contract with Deltans well and aptly documented. Let’s do this together and nobody will regret it. Vote for me as the right candidate with the capacity to do more for you and the entire Deltans,” Oborevwori appealed.