The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has paid glowing tributes on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for prioritising the welfare of workers in Enugu State and ensuring their wages are paid regularly.
This commendation came few days after a survey by the data company, BudgIT, indicating that Enugu, alongside Lagos and Rivers, were the only states currently able to meet recurrent needs.
The workers spoke during a solidarity rally organised to commemorate the anniversary of the colonial government’s slaying of 21 workers who were agitating for better working conditions on November 18, 1949, at the Iva Valley Coal Mine, in Enugu.
NLC’s head of Industrial Relations and Organising department, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboajah, who represented the body’s national president noted that it was on account of this history that Enugu holds a special place in the annals of trade unionism in Nigeria. “It’s instructive that on the eve of our coming here to commemorate that shedding of blood for workers to be emancipated and have decent lives, Enugu State received solid accolades as one of three states that is regular in taking care of basic responsibilities like payment of salaries and sundry workers issues.
“So it was refreshingly heartwarming for us that the labours of our heroes past are not in vain particularly in Enugu State,” he said, adding that it’s ironic that states that were better endowed are defaulting with regard to this obligation.
He noted that having found the “magic wand” in the prudent management of resources and ensuring workers receive their due, the governor should endeavour to share same with colleagues at the national level because “injury to one is injury to all.”
“We still say kudos to the governor and urge him not to drop his cards and to keep the flag flying,” he said.
Governor Ugwuanyi, represented by the commissioner of labour and productivity Barrister Emeka Okeke, enjoined the workers to use the commemoration of the coal miners’ sacrifice made 67 years ago to work diligently to preserve and promote the ideals they fought for across in the country.
The governor observed that it is “indeed sad to observe that the coal mines where it all started; which provided our heroes the platform to stand in exceptional gallantry, to say no to injustice and oppression and from where the former mainstay of the national economy was produced, have all been abandoned.”
He nonetheless expressed hope that with diversification as the new national mantra as a result of the negative developments in the oil sector, that the coal mines of Enugu will be restored and coal will once again become a major revenue resource for the country and a catalyst for socio-economic development.