Anambra workers angry over Soludo’s absence at May Day rally

Workers in Anambra State on Wednesday expressed their displeasure over absence of the Governor of the State, Prof. Chukwuma Solido at the 2024 May day rally in the state.

The governor was represented by his deputy, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim at the rally held at the Alex Ekwueme square, Awka, themed, “People First”

The workers who initially refused to file out for the usual match past which has become synonymous with the rally, said Soludo’s absence was deliberate. 

They repeatedly shouted “No” to appeal for the match-past, insisting that moral was low. 

Recall that last year’s rally dld not witness any match past, with the workers citing hot weather as reason.

Some of the workers who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity described the absence of the Governor as a slap on the workers.

One of them said, “The governor deliberately dodged the rally because of the long list of the workers’ demands.

“Sending his deputy doesn’t make any sense as he will definitely not address our demands.”

Another worker, a woman, said, “Workers Day is too important a day for any responsible government to ignore. What else could have kept the governor from honouring his workers?”

Though the march-past eventually held, but those who filed out to participate in the exercise, reportedly did that to “fulfill all righteousness.”

The Deputy Governor who later addressed the protesting workers after several efforts to calm their nerves, assured them that their grievances would soon be addressed.

Describing the Soludo-led administration as people oriented and worker friendly, Ibezim assured the workers of better days ahead.

“Governor Soludo as a worker-friendly governor is aware of your plights. You will definitely hear from him soon,” he said.

Earlier, workers called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to suspend the deduction of the contributory pension from their salaries to ensure industrial harmony in the state.

Presenting their long demands contained in a joint address by Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, through NLC chairman, Comrade Humphrey Nwafor, workers expressed worry over what they called improper introduction and implementation of the contributory pension scheme.

He said, “From the beginning of the scheme, monies deducted were rarely remitted to the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA). 

“Before the present administration came on board the state were deducting only the workers part of the contribution even without remitting same to the various PFA’s and refused to pay the Government part.

“The organized labour is dissatisfied with the continued deduction even after the reoccurring May Day prayers by organized labour requesting for the suspension of the scheme. 

“We call on the Governor, who we believe is not only worker friendly but hate injustice with passion, as a matter of urgency, to suspend the deduction of the contributory pension from the workers salary so as to ensure industrial harmony in the state.”

Appreciating the governor over the #12,000 wage award for them and pensioners for four months, the workers called for the re-introduction of the removed wage award. 

“We are also grateful for the absorption of National light staff into various ministries and parastatals.We cannot thank you enough even for resolving the problems of Anambra water corporation and ANSEPA which lasted for over 17 years,” they said.

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