ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR, DR IFEANYI OKOWA, GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2017 WORKERS DAY CELEBRATION AT ST PATRICKS COLLEGE, ASABA ON MONDAY, MAY 01, 2017.
His Excellency, Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro,
the Deputy Governor,
Hon. Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly,
My Lord, the Chief Judge of Delta State,
My Lord, the President, Customary Court of Appeal,
Hon. Members, Delta State House of Assembly,
Members of the State Executive Council,
The Secretary to the State Government,
The Head of Service,
The Chief of Staff,
The Senior Political Adviser,
The Chairman of PDP, Delta State and Chairmen of other Political Parties in the State,
Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress, Delta State
Top Government Functionaries,
Your Royal Highnesses,
My Lords, Spiritual and Temporal,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to join you for this year’s Labour Day celebration.
- The global designation of 1st May as International Workers Day in 1904 was in recognition of the strategic role of the worker in nation building. Hence, every year this event affords us the opportunity to acknowledge, reflect and celebrate the invaluable contributions of the worker to the development and progress of any nation.
- On this special day of solidarity with the Nigerian worker, I thank the dedicated and hard working men and women who have contributed in no small measure to build Delta State from its humble beginning in 1991. Through your belief, sacrifice and labour, we have made great progress as a State.
- As we gather here today, the Nigerian worker, like all other citizens, is confronted with economic adversity. More and more families are finding harder and harder to stay afloat as the recession bites harder and the inflationary trend continues. The current scenario poses a serious challenge to Government and other employers of labour to keep workers motivated, happy and satisfied.
- Our administration has made the welfare of workers a top priority, while working to ensure better relations between the private sector and the government. It is in recognition of the unique role that workers play in delivering government policies and programmes that from the inception of this administration we made the payment of workers’ salaries the first line of charge.
- With prudent management and judicious allocation of resources, we have consistently delivered on this promise despite the lean financial resources available to the State. I want to thank the entire workforce for their patience and understanding. My profound appreciation also goes to leaders of the labour movement for their support and cooperation in ensuring that their members are properly informed about government’s policies, programmes and activities. In particular, I commend the labour leaders for the positive role they played in averting what would have been a major industrial crisis in the State recently.
- We will need more of that type of leadership as we continue our journey to steer the economy away from over dependence on the oil sector into agriculture, housing, manufacturing and the entertainment industry, all of which have ample opportunities for job and wealth creation. We are leaving no stone unturned in our drive to build a self-reliant economy that will be resilient to external shocks, in addition to creating the enabling environment for private sector investment, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
- The SM.A.R.T agenda of this administration is about giving our people hope in the midst of despair, courage in the midst of despondency, and faith in the face of fear. It is about policies and programmes designed to create jobs and generate wealth. It is about giving our people the opportunities to achieve their dreams of success and happiness.
- In addition to the over 17,000 private sector jobs created in the first year of this administration, we have trained and established over 2,300 persons in their choice enterprises since 2015. We have also followed that up with the training of 4,000 youths in vocational training centres across the State. Many more jobs will be created as soon as some of the projects for which we have signed Memoranda of Understanding come on stream. Notably among these are the Agro Industrial Parks, Delta Commercial City and other projects in the energy, water and housing sectors.
- For us to actualise our ambitious growth plans, we need the support and cooperation of all and sundry, not least of all the labour movement. We count on you to continuously uphold and strengthen the values of honesty, commitment, transparency, fiscal discipline, and excellence in service delivery.
- As encapsulated in the Delta State Medium Term Development Plan, we are irrevocably committed to the creation of an effective, efficient, highly skilled, merit-driven and integrity-based public service. Our goal is to build a public sector management driven by professionalism, projects performance and zero tolerance for corruption. That is the only way we can entrench good governance in the polity and, needless to say, we need the support and cooperation of the labour movement to make this goal a reality.
- Earlier on I spoke about the challenges confronting the Nigerian worker today. Yes, the times are hard. But as the Scriptures teach, if you faint in the day of adversity then your strength is small. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. Instead of bemoaning the current financial travails or even attempting to give up as some are doing by taking their lives, I urge you to see the current challenge as a call to make adjustments, cut off wasteful expenditure in your lifestyle choices and release your creative potential for a brighter and more rewarding future.
- As an administration we are determined to create jobs, generate wealth and deliver on our promise of prosperity for all Deltans.
- I wish you all a happy Labour Day celebration.
- Thank you for your time and attention.
- God bless us all.
Office of the Governor