By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), on Tuesday embarked on an-all streets rally to compel the Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade to run for a second term in office.
In a carnival like manner, the workers chanted solidarity songs during the rally, displaying various placards which read, “In Ayade we trust, workers salary is guaranteed,” “Ayade all the way to 2023,” “Ayade cares, labour supports,” “The workers-friendly governor deserves another term,” “Our digital governor, a friend of labour, carry go 2019,” “Ayade is working, Cross River State is changing,” among others.
Present at the rally were the NULGE National President, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel; National publicity secretary of the union, Comrade Emmanuel Faase, President, Cross River state NULGE, Godwin Ayendi, Kogi state NULGE president, Comrade Adeyemi, Adamawa State president as well as president of Rivers State wing, Franklin Ajunwa.
The national president said they were in the state to compel the governor to seek reelection given his pro-workers policy.
According to him, “our visit today to Cross River state is the visit of love and peace and when you have these, God will surely stand with you. Trade union movement is a dogged movement aimed at telling you when you are wrong and right. For us to come here, fraternising with you and urging you to come back in 2019, you should know that we are genuine. For if we were not happy, the visit would have been different”.
Khaleel said, “we are here because of your prompt payment of salaries which is making our family happy. While your colleagues in some states are downsizing, you are promoting workers. We are in Cross River today because we are elevated, welcomed, accommodated and your doors are wide open even when service at this level across the country is being relegated”.
While urging other state governors to emulate Ayade, the NULGE president said the union was emphatic in its support for the governor.
“If your colleagues approach to local government workers is like yours, our struggle to make local government autonomous would not have been necessary. The state branch of Cross River NULGE has the mandate of the national executive council to call you out to run again in 2019”.
He warned that should the governor refuse to heed to their call, the union will ground activities in the state with demonstrations.
“We will come back and demonstrate all over and show our anger, if you don’t respect our plea to rerun because you cannot cut this happiness from us,” adding that, “I congratulate you for earning the confidence of your people and people outside Cross River”.
Also speaking, the state president of NULGE, Comrade Godwin Ayendi, said the workers were gathered to appreciate and beg Ayade to continue till 2023 as the governor has kept to his promise of not allowing any one to go to bed hungry through prompt payment of salaries and the promotion of workers.
Rivers State NULGE president, Ajunwa also lent his voice to the plea, saying, “you can see the smiles on the faces of your people. A dancer does not see his back. We have heard of your attitude and welfare to our people in Cross River. We are requesting that you listen to them”.
Head of Local Government Administration in Bekwarra, Simon Olem, who spoke on behalf of other HOLGAs intimated that, “we are here for one reason. We have moved from the hills of Obudu to the swamps of Bakassi because you have taken this state from Egypt. We are asking you to continue. Do not jump ship and leave us. If you don’t accept our plea, we will not leave this place today”.
Responding, Ayade assured the workers that he will reintroduce proper imprest to the local government councils, adding that, “I will set aside N500m for any member of NULGE who wants to go into farming. We will inspect if you want to go into any of the value chains, we will give you partial interest free soft loans for you to go into farming”.