Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has admitted being used by fellow governors to test-run the failed sack policy which he started in the state in January.
The governor had in January 2016 announced the suspension of about 7000 civil servants from 19 parastatals, departments and agencies who are yet to reach their retirement age.
The government also announced the sack of the workers of the primary health care across the 27 council areas of the state.
The development led to the Organized Labour shutting down the state Wednesday and thereby forcing the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to rescind his decision to suspending the workers.
Speaking before conceding to the Labour demands, Okorocha confessed that he was used by his colleagues to implement the sack policy.
According to him, “Sentiments apart, I can’t continue on sentiments because I’m not alone in this crisis. State governors are crying (about the heavy wage bill), waiting for whom to send and here I am to bell the cat at the expense of my political career.”
He said the government had to yield to workers’ demand to restore industrial peace in the state.
Part of the government/labour agreement stated that government would source for funds to pay workers which would be verified by the joint committee of government and labour.
According to the agreement, government would fund its operations with not more than 30 per cent of the verified revenue for the month.
The committee would apply the balance of 70 per cent in the settlement of salaries of public servants and pensioners.
economic and social activities had come to a halt in Owerri following a mass protest organised by the NLC.
The organised labour had shut down the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, some banks, all ministries and offices including the LGAs and the state Secretariat as workers trooped out for the protest.
The protesters were led by the National President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and other national leaders including the state chairmen from South/East, South/South and North.
They matched from the secretariat of the Nigeria Medical Association on Port Harcourt road, toward Imo Government House, where they blocked all major entrances.
Wabba had demanded for immediate recall of all sacked workers and stopping further sack of workers in the state without following laid down procedures.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Oyegun has appealed to Gov. Rochas Okorocha to adopt the spirit of flexibility in handling issues concerning workers.
Oyegun, who flew to Owerri to pay solidarity visit to Governor Okorocha over the issue, said that workers and government needed to cooperate with each other to get the state out of the present situation.
“If a child is crying continuously and refuses to stop despite everything done to pacify him, something needed to be done”, he said.
Oyegun also appealed to workers in the state to face the fact and have a round table with government on possible solutions that would continue to unite them.
He said the party leadership was concerned about the welfare of the people of the state.