John ODHE, Yenagoa
Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri has encouraged civil servants in the state to begin participation in active politics as there is no law that precludes them from doing so.
The governor was responding to the views of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) during the 2022 Workers Day celebration where it called on its members to contest elective positions during elections.
“Politics is about featuring the best that can think about the development of the state, development of the country. I encourage all civil servants in the state to participate in politics. When good people move away from politics, it gives room for the bad ones to come in,” the governor said.
The governor stole the show while responding to the demands of the organized labour when he announced that there would be 100 per cent increase from the monthly N200 million to N400 million in the month of May to accommodate a sizeable number of pensioners in view of the backlog of gratuity arrears in the state.
The governor also approved a number of the workers requests, which include implementation of the annual step increment as well as the release of funds for conduct of the 2022 promotion exercise for both the state and local government levels.
Also approved by the governor is the financial implementation of 2021 promotion exercise for workers and directed the relevant government officials to negotiate with labour to come up with feasible recommendations as soon as possible.
On payment of minimum wage to workers in tertiary institutions in the state, Diri explained that an implementation and revision committee had been set up under the leadership of his deputy and the report was being awaited for full implementation.
“We have looked at the figure and have come up with an addition. Monthly, we release N200 million for pension and gratuities. This month, we will add an additional N200 million. In other words, N400 million will be made available for the payment of pensions and gratuities,” he said.
Diri equally directed the Commissioner for Education, Gentle Emelah, to come up with recommendations for the monthly running cost of government-owned technical colleges for immediate implementation.
Also, the governor directed the relevant officials in the ministry of health to ensure the payment of call-duty allowance to specialist nurses as approved in 2014 in tandem with extant rules.
According to him, his administration is establishing technical colleges across the eight local government areas of the state to train people to become employers of labour rather than becoming job seekers.
In a joint address by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), presented by the state NLC chairman, Comrade John Ndiomu, labour was full of praises of the governor for approving most of their demands.
Labour, however, lamented the none completion of the state Labour House which has remained at DPC level for years, calling on the governor to expedite action towards its completion.
Highpoint of the celebration was the pronouncement of cash award by the governor for the march past.
The state chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria clinched the first prize of N2million while the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives got the second prize of N1.5million and the third prize of N1 million went to the state branch of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners.