May Day: Wike Bombs Rivers Workers. ……. Says ” Workers Steal Our Equipment At State Secretariat”

Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi

History was made today at the Gen. Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, venue of this year’s May (Workers) Day celebration as Rivers State Governor, Barr Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike, in what could be described as a pointblank statement, blasted Rivers workers for majorly contributing to the decay being witnessed at the state secretariat.

Speaking in response to the requests of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Rivers State chapters, one of which is to restore electricity, rebuild dilapidated structures and replace stolen equipment at some of the secretariat buildings, Governor Wike told the unions that their members are responsible for the horrible state of the secretariat.
According to Governor Wike, the generator mechanics who buy or repair the generators at the secretariat buildings such as the Podium Block, which has been in darkness for months, are the ones who steal all the generator parts, thereby throwing the building into darkness.

Wike further noted that other workers who buy or repair things at the secretariat and end up stealing or spoiling them are also supposed to be under the umbrella of the NLC.

According to Governor Wike, the generator mechanics who buy or repair the generators at the secretariat buildings such as the Podium Block, which has been in darkness for months, are the ones who steal all the generator parts, thereby throwing the building into darkness.

Wike further noted that other workers who buy or repair things at the secretariat and end up stealing or spoiling them are also supposed to be under the umbrella of the NLC.

Bemoaning the politicization of the activities of the Labour Unions in the past, Wike berated the workers for keeping quiet when various forms of injustice was being perpetrated by the previous administrations in the state, wondering why the Unions did not protest when their members were not being promoted and when civil servants’ salaries were being forcefully taxed by the past administration.

Wike also wondered why the Nigerian workers, who he said protested massively and grounded the economy of Nigeria when the Jonathan administration wanted to remove oil subsidy, have remained silent since the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has finally removed the same oil subsidy they fought against.

Governor Wike, who said it will not be easy for him to do everything within three years of his administration, however, promised to grant most of the requests of the workers, as presented by the leadership of both the NLC and the TUC.

Specifically, Governor Wike, who said he has earmarked about N500 million to support women’s businesses and another N1.2 billion as soft loans for workers, promised to build a secretariat for the NLC but warned that politicization of any of their activities would make him to withdraw his support.
“Anyone (among the requests) that is your right, I will give you. But if you bring politics, I will become sick: I will become blind, deaf and dumb. I will not see you, or hear you or talk with you. And you know that is the worst sickness,” he said.
Earlier, state chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State chapter, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to rescue the state secretariat from structural decay that has made the place look like a shadow of itself, lamenting that for ten months, the Podium Block that houses over seven ministries, has been without electricity light.

While making a case for other sister unions under NLC, Comrade Itubo urged Rivers workers to be productive.

Also speaking, chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Rivers State chapter, Comrade Austin Jonah, commended Governor Wike for his developmental projects and called on the federal government to tighten security in the country, particularly in Rivers State.