Cross River State Government And The Theory Of Continuity

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The Cross River State Governor, Senator Benedict Ayade, as usual featured prominently in the news in the last three years.

During the period under review, Ayade was named the “ The Sun Governor of the Year,Business day best Governor of the year, Tell Magazine man of the year Award,Vanguard Governor of the year award,Tourism Man of the year Award,Authority Newspaper man of the year Award for good governance; rapid rural development; regular payment of workers’ salaries even without the receipt of federal allocation; nurturing peace and harmony among the political class and critical support for security agencies, among others.

It has also gone a long way to showcase the passion of the present administration in advancing the cause of business engagements in the state through innovations, accountability, fiscal discipline and efficient public expenditure management for the overall wellbeing of the masses.

Prior to the recent World Bank rating, the administration had received similar verdicts and commendations from well-respected bodies.

The climax of the weeks’ event in favour of the governor was the Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s validation of the gale of endorsements for the governor’s re-election by various groups across the state

The highly revered body added that it was also “the most bankable promissory note that beckons on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a Certificate of Return to His Excellency, Senator Benedict Ayade as the governor-elect in Cross river State come 2019”.

In his remark, the President General of  Ndigbo in Cross river state, who witnessed the historic cultural honour with the governor and other dignitaries, noted that the validation by the Cross river State chapter of the organisation was an outward demonstration of solidarity for the governor, saying that “you (Ayade) are such a humble man that I don’t know how low you can get again in order to show more humility”.

His words: “Well I cannot say anything rather than that I have noted with great satisfaction what the people of Cross river State have said today.

On this note, I say congratulations to you, as we invite you to come and appreciate what we are doing today”.

The Igbo Community in cross river state described him as second to none in the provision of workers’ welfare in the South -South geo-political zone”, and “a performer and humble leader” who listens when it comes to challenges confronting the workers and the entire people of the state. They stated that the governor has set the pace for other states to emulate, stressing that “Cross river State is working under his leadership and that is not only because he is a performer, but he exhibit the sense of performance with humility”.

According to the indigbo group, “we would say it anywhere because you have done it and you are still doing it. We assure that the working class not only in Cross river State but also in the entire nation is supporting you on your efforts to deliver the dividends of democracy”.

From the foregoing, it is being reaffirmed that Ayade has continued to make a positive mark in the governance, through his selfless service, vision, strength of leadership, sheer dexterity, and passion for the wellbeing of the people of the state – the true heroes of democracy.

It is therefore, expected of the people to continue to reciprocate this gesture through their solidarity, goodwill and support.

Ayade’s consistency in the payment of workers’ salaries has endeared him to the workforce in the state.

During this year’s May Day celebration at the U J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, the organised labour in Cross River State, comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), endorsed the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade for a second term in office.

The May Day or Workers’ Day, is viewed as a day set aside annually for workers to remind their employers of the importance of improving their welfare.

There was nothing special that was expected about this year’s celebration other than the usual match-pass with the governor or his representative taking the salute, and then the usual speech-making by labour leaders, the governor, and possibly light refreshments.

Though these rituals were observed during this year’s celebration, however, a significant point of departure from tradition was the declaration of support for the second term aspiration of the state governor.

The workers really did something outside the usual convention, by presenting a separate document containing their endorsement of Ayade ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“In view of what you have done in Cross River state since your assumption of office on May 29,2015 in the area of socio-economic, political and man power development as attested by many, in view of your workers friendly posture.

“We the workers of Cross River State having viewed critically the options open to us, and our future have agreed on this day to massively support your bid for second term in office. We therefore urged you to bid for the second term in office come 2019 general elections,“John Ushie , the chairman of the state chapter of the NLC, declared on behalf of the NLC and the TUC.

Obviously , the endorsement of the governor by the workers has raised the curiosity of many as to why they should embark on such a cause that may not be popular with those who think that the governor does not deserve a second time in office. Besides, many expect labour to be apolitical.

Some people have even concluded that the workers in the state are sell-outs to the state governor, hence the endorsement.

But, available information on the relationship between organised labour, and the government as represented by the governor, indicates that both parties have not always been having smooth relationship.

For instance, under the current leadership of Ushie as state NLC chairman , and Clackson Otu as state TUC chairman, the organised labour, and the state government have literarily fought on some occasions , with the workers embarking on strike for a number of days.

One of such frosty relationships occurred in June 2017 when the workers embarked on strike over some unsettled issues with the state government.

Again, in December 2017, the NLC and the state government were at each other’s jugular over issues related to payment of gratuities from 2013, and the non-implementation of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU), reached by both parties in July of that year.

The workers even issued Ayade a sevenday ultimatum to meet their demands that gratuities to retired workers be paid without further delay.

Following such agitation from the workers, Ayade had caused gratuities for 2013 and 2014 to be paid to the retirees.

So, can the organised labour in the state that barks and bites occasionally, when it becomes absolutely necessary, be justifiably accused of compromise for endorsing Ayade for a second term?

Ushie had advanced reasons why Ayade, whom the workers in the state had hitherto christened “Most Labour Friendly Governor” and “Salary Master”, was given the nvaluable support to remain in office beyond May 2019.

Ushie stated that their support for the governor derived from his friendly disposition to workers, and the verifiable evidence of Ayade’s efforts at industrialising the state.

According to the NLC chairman, in less than three years, Ayade administration has embarked on many developmental projects across the state which, ordinarily, before now were seen as impossible to achieve.

Ushie listed the projects to include the Calabar Garment Factory, the Calapharm, the Rice City, the Rice Processing Mill in Ogoja, the Independent Power Plant, the Deep Sea Port, Calabar Haulage City and the Banana Plantation in Odukpani, and the Cocoa Processing plant in Ikom.

Ushie also listed the construction of the Canadian College in Obudu, and the inauguration of the Teachers Continuous Training City, and many other projects.

“These projects and more, the joint body attests, are true testimonies of the governor’s desire to change the destiny of the state from a civil service economy to an industrialised one which is capable of generating jobs and revenues to run the State”, Ushie said.

 

Dur­ing this year’s May Day cel­e­bra­tion at the U J. Esuene Sta­dium in Cal­abar on Tues­day, May 1, 2018, the or­gan­ised labour in Cross River State, com­pris­ing of the Nige­ria Labour Con­gress (NLC), and the Trade Union Con­gress (TUC), en­dorsed the state gov­er­nor, Pro­fes­sor Ben Ayade for a sec­ond term in of­fice.

Dur­ing this year’s May Day cel­e­bra­tion at the U J. Esuene Sta­dium in Cal­abar on Tues­day, May 1, 2018, the or­gan­ised labour in Cross River State, com­pris­ing of the Nige­ria Labour Con­gress (NLC), and the Trade Union Con­gress (TUC), en­dorsed the state gov­er­nor, Pro­fes­sor Ben Ayade for a sec­ond term in of­fice.

The May Day or Work­ers’ Day, is viewed as a day set aside an­nu­ally for work­ers to re­mind their em­ploy­ers of the im­por­tance of im­prov­ing their wel­fare.

There was noth­ing spe­cial that was ex­pected about this year’s cel­e­bra­tion other than the usual match-pass with the gov­er­nor or his rep­re­sen­ta­tive tak­ing the sa­lute, and then the usual speech-mak­ing by labour lead­ers, the gov­er­nor, and pos­si­bly light re­fresh­ments.

There was noth­ing spe­cial that was ex­pected about this year’s cel­e­bra­tion other than the usual match-pass with the gov­er­nor or his rep­re­sen­ta­tive tak­ing the sa­lute, and then the usual speech-mak­ing by labour lead­ers, the gov­er­nor, and pos­si­bly light re­fresh­ments.

Though these rit­u­als were ob­served dur­ing this year’s cel­e­bra­tion, how­ever, a sig­nif­i­cant point of de­par­ture from tra­di­tion was the dec­la­ra­tion of sup­port for the sec­ond term as­pi­ra­tion of the state gov­er­nor.

The work­ers re­ally did some­thing out­side the usual con­ven­tion, by pre­sent­ing a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment con­tain­ing their en­dorse­ment of Ayade ahead of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

The work­ers re­ally did some­thing out­side the usual con­ven­tion, by pre­sent­ing a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment con­tain­ing their en­dorse­ment of Ayade ahead of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

“In view of what you have done in Cross River state since your as­sump­tion of of­fice on May 29,2015 in the area of so­cio-eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and man power de­vel­op­ment as at­tested by many, in view of your work­ers friendly pos­ture.

“We the work­ers of Cross River State hav­ing viewed crit­i­cally the op­tions open to us, and our fu­ture have agreed on this day to mas­sively sup­port your bid for sec­ond term in of­fice. We there­fore urged you to bid for the sec­ond term in of­fice come 2019 gen­eral elec­tions,“John Ushie , the chair­man of the state chap­ter of the NLC, de­clared on be­half of the NLC and the TUC.

“We the work­ers of Cross River State hav­ing viewed crit­i­cally the op­tions open to us, and our fu­ture have agreed on this day to mas­sively sup­port your bid for sec­ond term in of­fice. We there­fore urged you to bid for the sec­ond term in of­fice come 2019 gen­eral elec­tions,“John Ushie , the chair­man of the state chap­ter of the NLC, de­clared on be­half of the NLC and the TUC.

Ob­vi­ously , the en­dorse­ment of the gov­er­nor by the work­ers has raised the cu­rios­ity of many as to why they should em­bark on such a cause that may not be pop­u­lar with those who think that the gov­er­nor does not de­serve a sec­ond time in of­fice. Be­sides, many ex­pect labour to be apo­lit­i­cal.

Some peo­ple have even con­cluded that the work­ers in the state are sell-outs to the state gov­er­nor, hence the en­dorse­ment.

Some peo­ple have even con­cluded that the work­ers in the state are sell-outs to the state gov­er­nor, hence the en­dorse­ment.

But, avail­able in­for­ma­tion on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween or­gan­ised labour, and the gov­ern­ment as rep­re­sented by the gov­er­nor, in­di­cates that both par­ties have not al­ways been hav­ing smooth re­la­tion­ship.

For in­stance, un­der the cur­rent lead­er­ship of Ushie as state NLC chair­man , and Clack­son Otu as state TUC chair­man, the or­gan­ised labour, and the state gov­ern­ment have lit­er­ar­ily fought on some oc­ca­sions , with the work­ers em­bark­ing on strike for a num­ber of days.

For in­stance, un­der the cur­rent lead­er­ship of Ushie as state NLC chair­man , and Clack­son Otu as state TUC chair­man, the or­gan­ised labour, and the state gov­ern­ment have lit­er­ar­ily fought on some oc­ca­sions , with the work­ers em­bark­ing on strike for a num­ber of days.

One of such frosty re­la­tion­ships oc­curred in June 2017 when the work­ers em­barked on strike over some un­set­tled is­sues with the state gov­ern­ment.

Again, in De­cem­ber 2017, the NLC and the state gov­ern­ment were at each other’s jugu­lar over is­sues re­lated to pay­ment of gra­tu­ities from 2013, and the non-im­ple­men­ta­tion of a Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment (MoU), reached by both par­ties in July of that year.

The work­ers even is­sued Ayade a sev­en­day ul­ti­ma­tum to meet their de­mands that gra­tu­ities to re­tired work­ers be paid with­out fur­ther de­lay.

Fol­low­ing such ag­i­ta­tion from the work­ers, Ayade had caused gra­tu­ities for 2013 and 2014 to be paid to the re­tirees.

So, can the or­gan­ised labour in the state that barks and bites oc­ca­sion­ally, when it be­comes ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, be jus­ti­fi­ably ac­cused of com­pro­mise for en­dors­ing Ayade for a sec­ond term?

Ushie had ad­vanced rea­sons why Ayade, whom the work­ers in the state had hith­erto chris­tened “Most Labour Friendly Gov­er­nor” and “Salary Master”, was given the nvalu­able sup­port to re­main in of­fice be­yond May 2019.

Ushie stated that their sup­port for the gov­er­nor derived from his friendly dis­po­si­tion to work­ers, and the ver­i­fi­able ev­i­dence of Ayade’s ef­forts at in­dus­tri­al­is­ing the state.

Ac­cord­ing to the NLC chair­man, in less than three years, Ayade ad­min­is­tra­tion has em­barked on many de­vel­op­men­tal pro­jects across the state which, or­di­nar­ily, be­fore now were seen as im­pos­si­ble to achieve.

Ac­cord­ing to the NLC chair­man, in less than three years, Ayade ad­min­is­tra­tion has em­barked on many de­vel­op­men­tal pro­jects across the state which, or­di­nar­ily, be­fore now were seen as im­pos­si­ble to achieve.

Ushie listed the pro­jects to in­clude the Cal­abar Gar­ment Fac­tory, the Calapharm, the Rice City, the Rice Pro­cess­ing Mill in Ogoja, the In­de­pen­dent Power Plant, the Deep Sea Port, Cal­abar Haulage City and the Ba­nana Plan­ta­tion in Oduk­pani, and the Co­coa Pro­cess­ing plant in Ikom.

Ushie also listed the con­struc­tion of the Cana­dian Col­lege in Obudu, and the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Teach­ers Con­tin­u­ous Train­ing City, and many other pro­jects.

Ushie also listed the con­struc­tion of the Cana­dian Col­lege in Obudu, and the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Teach­ers Con­tin­u­ous Train­ing City, and many other pro­jects.

“These pro­jects and more, the joint body at­tests, are true tes­ti­monies of the gov­er­nor’s de­sire to change the des­tiny of the state from a civil ser­vice econ­omy to an in­dus­tri­alised one which is ca­pa­ble of gen­er­at­ing jobs and rev­enues to run the State”, Ushie said.

For the work­ers, in a coun­try where so many states owe work­ers salaries for up­wards of 18 and 24 months, Ayade has proved to be dif­fer­ent in that as­pect as his ad­min­is­tra­tion does not owe salaries of civil ser­vants and his po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees num­ber­ing over three thou­sand.

For the work­ers, in a coun­try where so many states owe work­ers salaries for up­wards of 18 and 24 months, Ayade has proved to be dif­fer­ent in that as­pect as his ad­min­is­tra­tion does not owe salaries of civil ser­vants and his po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees num­ber­ing over three thou­sand.

In­deed be­fore the work­ers con­verged on the sta­dium for the cel­e­bra­tion of the May Day, their May, 2018 salaries had been paid.

Noth­ing per­haps could have en­deared Ayade to the work­ers most, than reg­u­lar pay­ment of salaries to the civil ser­vants. This ex­plains why he was tagged “Salary Master” by the work­ers.

“Ayade has demon­strated that he has the ca­pac­ity to pay work­ers’ salaries with­out any hitch. And be­cause work­ers in the state have come to the con­clu­sion that the gov­er­nor pos­sess the ca­pac­ity to im­ple­ment the new min­i­mum wage which work­ers all over the coun­try had been ag­i­tat­ing for, they should of­fer their full sup­port to Ayade as he as­pires to­ward se­cur­ing a sec­ond term in 2019,” the NLC chair­man said.

A vis­i­bly elated Ayade, while ad­dress­ing the work­ers amidst thun­der­ous ova­tion from the thou­sands of cheer­ing work­ers, said, “Any­thing I am do­ing first thing that come to my mind is salaries of work­ers.

A vis­i­bly elated Ayade, while ad­dress­ing the work­ers amidst thun­der­ous ova­tion from the thou­sands of cheer­ing work­ers, said, “Any­thing I am do­ing first thing that come to my mind is salaries of work­ers.

“There­fore, your choice of my adop­tion come 2019 is a step in the right di­rec­tion. And I think that this is the first time in the his­tory of Nige­ria that the or­gan­ised labour will gather like this to say Mr. Gov­er­nor, we want you to con­tinue in 2019….If there is any­thing you have asked that I have not done please par­don me. I am a will­ing horse that will never go be­yond my limit and en­ergy, my ca­pac­ity. I some­times doubt my­self”.

“There­fore, your choice of my adop­tion come 2019 is a step in the right di­rec­tion. And I think that this is the first time in the his­tory of Nige­ria that the or­gan­ised labour will gather like this to say Mr. Gov­er­nor, we want you to con­tinue in 2019….If there is any­thing you have asked that I have not done please par­don me. I am a will­ing horse that will never go be­yond my limit and en­ergy, my ca­pac­ity. I some­times doubt my­self”.

The gov­er­nor who spoke about mea­sures taken by his ad­min­is­tra­tion to de­velop the econ­omy of the state, said: “We need to ex­pand the hori­zon for young peo­ple. We need a lot of work­ers for the in­dus­tries, and the only way to make peo­ple happy is when, as a gov­ern­ment, you em­bark on in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.”

Away from the sta­dium, Ayade had vis­ited the pro­posed state sec­re­tariat of the or­gan­ised labour , the Labour House, a day be­fore the May Day cel­e­bra­tion.

Dur­ing the visit, he show­ered what can be termed “democracy div­i­dends” on the work­ers, au­tho­ris­ing the pay­ment of 2014 gra­tu­ity to re­tired civil ser­vants in the state, and mak­ing a do­na­tion of N50 mil­lion for the com­ple­tion of the Labour House.

Dur­ing the visit, he show­ered what can be termed “democracy div­i­dends” on the work­ers, au­tho­ris­ing the pay­ment of 2014 gra­tu­ity to re­tired civil ser­vants in the state, and mak­ing a do­na­tion of N50 mil­lion for the com­ple­tion of the Labour House.

“We have al­ready fi­nalised, and I have just signed to­day an au­tho­ri­sa­tion for them to com­mence the im­ple­men­ta­tion of 2014 gra­tu­ity….

“At the time we dis­cussed with the NLC/ TUC on the need to sup­port them build a Labour House, the ap­proval I gave was so in­signif­i­cant for the ac­com­plish­ment of what I am seeing here to­day. I thought I was the only ma­gi­cian who knows how to turn one naira to a mil­lion dol­lars. To­day, I have seen some man­age­ment ex­perts that are equally very good.

“At the time we dis­cussed with the NLC/ TUC on the need to sup­port them build a Labour House, the ap­proval I gave was so in­signif­i­cant for the ac­com­plish­ment of what I am seeing here to­day. I thought I was the only ma­gi­cian who knows how to turn one naira to a mil­lion dol­lars. To­day, I have seen some man­age­ment ex­perts that are equally very good.

“Against that back­ground, God has de­scended upon me with an in­spi­ra­tion to en­sure that you com­plete this project and get it ready for com­mis­sion­ing as in the his­tory of Cross River, we have never had a Labour House where mem­bers can come in un­mo­lested. It is my plea­sure to sup­port you com­plete this ed­i­fice with ad­di­tional N50 mil­lion. That fig­ure will cover fur­ni­ture, tele­com and small clinic in case of any emer­gency,” Ayade said af­ter in­spect­ing the on-go­ing con­struc­tion of the Labour House.

“Against that back­ground, God has de­scended upon me with an in­spi­ra­tion to en­sure that you com­plete this project and get it ready for com­mis­sion­ing as in the his­tory of Cross River, we have never had a Labour House where mem­bers can come in un­mo­lested. It is my plea­sure to sup­port you com­plete this ed­i­fice with ad­di­tional N50 mil­lion. That fig­ure will cover fur­ni­ture, tele­com and small clinic in case of any emer­gency,” Ayade said af­ter in­spect­ing the on-go­ing con­struc­tion of the Labour House.

Ushie had de­scribed Ayade’s visit as very im­por­tant to the or­gan­ised labour, dis­clos­ing that for more than forty years, work­ers in the state had ex­per­i­mented with the idea of build­ing a Labour House but to no avail.

Ushie said it was quite sig­nif­i­cant that the work­ers’ dream of hav­ing a Labour House has ma­te­ri­al­ized dur­ing Ayade’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ushie promised that the labour lead­ers would make ju­di­cious use of the money, and en­sure that the gov­er­nor com­mis­sions the project as part of the May 29 cel­e­bra­tion in the state.

Ushie promised that the labour lead­ers would make ju­di­cious use of the money, and en­sure that the gov­er­nor com­mis­sions the project as part of the May 29 cel­e­bra­tion in the state.

Af­ter the visit the gov­er­nor and the labour lead­ers pro­ceeded to the Ayade In­dus­trial Com­plex where the work­ers were con­ducted on a guided tour of some of the pro­jets ear­lier men­tioned by the NLC chair­man.

For many work­ers in the state, the en­dorse­ment of Ayade for a sec­ond by the or­gan­ised labour is a de­ci­sion taken in the right di­rec­tion.

#Team Ayade

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