As the controversy over N30,0 000 minimum wage for workers rage on , a former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim has promised the wage if elected the State Governor.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Collins Ughalla, Ohakim said he does not see why Imo State cannot the N30,000 minium wage.
He said he is a welfarist leader, recalling that workers in the state have suffered untold hardship since the advent of the Okorocha administration
“It is shocking that under the Okorocha government the workers have not been paid their allowances and no promotion has taken place for close to eight years now. Instead, Imo State workers now take 70% of their salaries while the government illegally pockets the remaining 30%. We cannot continue with this”, he said.
Ohakim assured that from 2019 when he returns to the government as Governor for only one term, he will end the suffering of workers by paying the proposed N30,000 salary.
Ohakim has also set up a committee to compute the total amount of deductions made on the workers’ salary, promising that his administration will return the accrual of the 30% illegal deductions. He said that he will run a government for the people and by people and as such his government will not keep what does not belong to it or deny any section of the state what is rightfully theirs.
The former Governor who is running for only one term in office in 2019 said he will not create any division in the state for any reason but would rather carry everyone along, adding that his government will end the unnecessary controversy on payment of pension and gratuity.
He observed that since he left office the Okorocha administration has not paid gratuities while pensioners die like chicken because they cannot afford basic healthcare and feeding.
He said: “Imo people have for some time now had a taste of two governments; that is, my government which existed between 2007 and 2011 and the Okorocha’s administration which has been in existence since 2011. The judgement we have got from the people is commendable and we cannot let them down when, by the grace of God and choice of the Imo people, we return to office. My government will be the peoples’ government in every sense of the word, and everything we shall do shall only focus on the people. Imo people have suffered and they cannot afford to suffer again under the new government.
“As a government, we shall commence the payment of N30,000 new salary for the workers of Imo State. We shall return equity and fairness to the daily running of the government and as such we have set up a committee to look at the 30% and 60% illegal deductions on the workers’ salary and pension respectively. We shall return the accumulated sum to the workers and pensioners. It is their money and my government cannot have the conscience to keep what is not theirs”.
Ohakim noted that the best way to ensure efficiency in the public service is to ensure that the government lives up to its responsibilities by providing a conducive environment for the workers to give their very best. He said he will also end the unnecessary controversy on the payment of pension and gratuity by making sure that the arrears of pensions and gratuities are paid.
He said he has the mental and social capacities to address the issues and bring them to a conclusive end because he had dealt successfully with those issues while he was Governor. He recalled that after he was sworn in as Governor in 2007 he was faced with backlog of workers’ salary and pension and he had to first settle them.
“Not only did I pay the backlog of salaries and pension I met on ground, I gave the first salary increment and made sure the workers and pensioners were not owed. I have the experience and I will do much more”, Ohakim assured.
“My government will provide several social intervention programmes to help our distressed economy and bring businesses back to the state. Not only will my government rebuild the demolished markets, the traders will be assisted to return to their businesses. Once again, we will create jobs for our youths, including returning the 10,000 jobs scheme. We shall also create 600,000 jobs”.