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Low turn-out at Heroes Square

The 2018 May Day, otherwise known as Workers Day, celebration last Tuesday witnessed a low turnout of Imo workers.
Heroes Square, New Owerri, venue of the event, traditionally known for its hustle and bustle during important events, had few people seated in the pavilions waiting for the arrival of the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who was billed to address the workers by 10 am.
The governor, however, arrived the scene three hours later and took over from the Secretary to the Imo State Government, Mr. George Eche, who stood in for him, to kick start the event.
A cross section of Labour leaders and others who spoke to Christian Voice on the new development attributed it to low morale due to the present state of affairs in the state. They complained of high-handedness on the part of government in dealing with the people of the state.
Jamilu Mustapha, secretary, National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Imo State chapter, said that despite enormous contributions by Nigerian workers the workers are still at the receiving end amidst excruciating economic conditions.
Mr. Mustapha said that today’s Nigeria workers are disenchanted with the state of affairs in the country, adding that the promise of better deal by various governments in the country is a ruse.
According to him, down in the states, workers and pensioners are subjected to untold hardship due to non-payment of salaries and pensions while top government functionaries and other political office holders carry on in their ostentatious life styles.
All these, according to the labour leader, are responsible for the workers’, and by extension the people’s low morale, hence the area was empty.
Also speaking to Christian Voice, Comrade Moses Alemoh, chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Education and Associated Institutions, Federal University of Technology (FUTO) chapter said that the arena was empty probably because the workers were tired of deceptions coming from among the present ruling class in Imo State.
Comrade Alemoh quoted proverbs 29:2 which says that, “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people mourn”.
The labour leader said many people are today homeless because of the urban renewal project while their means of livelihood have also been destroyed.
An Owerri-based journalist who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Christian Voice that in the forth-coming general elections, the people would speak with their votes.
The 2018 May Day address was presented by Comrade Paul Akalazu, state chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Imo State council on behalf of Organized Labour in Imo State.
Comrade Akalazu highlighted the a diriment and contributions of the labour movement in Nigeria and Imo State in particular, and canvassed for a better deal among Imo workers.
The high point of the 2018 May Day was the announcement by the Imo state Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, of automatic promotion to all Imo workers to their next salary level.
Also, one Mrs Chioma Izuogu, a seven-month pregnant women from Ideato south LGA of Imo State was persecuted with a cash gift of N1 million, courtesy of  Gov. Okorocha for taking part in the traditional match past under heavy sun shine and in a grand style.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included top government functionaries, including the speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Acho Ihim, commissioners, special assistants, labour leaders including state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), comrade Austin Chilakpu.

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