1. I am delighted to join the Labour family today to mark the 2019 May Day celebrations jointly organized by Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and United Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State Councils.
2. Today, I stand in total humility and in appreciation to Almighty God and the good people of Akwa Ibom State, for their support for my re-election. I thank the Organized Labour for standing firm, rock-solid and resolute in their support for the continuation of the good works we have started for the people of our dear State.
3. Not only did you proudly endorse my candidature, you went out to vote massively and ensured that you defended your votes. You refused to give in to blackmail, to intimidation, to falsehood and the organized attempts to tear the chords of our relationship for political gains.
4. The Organized Labour has been very supportive of my Administration, and for this, I remain deeply indebted and grateful. The maintenance of industrial peace in Akwa Ibom State has helped in the realization of a stable economic growth in the State and an atmosphere of shared commitment to peace, prosperity and development of our dear State.
5.I made a pledge to you in 2015 when I assumed the saddle of leadership of this State that as a proud son of dedicated school teachers, I will be a Labour-friendly Governor, and so far, I believe I have lived up to the expectations. You have been good partners and I look forward to the deepening of this harmonious relationship with you as we get set for our Second Term.
6. This Year’s Workers’ Day in Akwa Ibom State is particularly significant in that the three major organized Labour entities namely: NLC, TUC and ULC are holding a joint celebration for the first time. This symbolizes unity amongst the workers and we should all be very proud of this huge achievement.
7. Let me use this opportunity to congratulate the new State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Elder Sunny James and the entire new EXCO on their election. I look forward to a continuous good working relationship with you while I also thank most sincerely the immediate past NLC EXCO for the great works they did for the Organized Labour in the State and the cooperation they extended to my Administration. You are all, indeed, great patriots.
8. About four years ago when I assumed office as the Governor of this State, the economic frontiers were hazy and mired in uncertainties. The nation was going though severe economic challenges and the ability of the newly sworn governors to fulfil critical obligations such as payment of salaries became a huge nightmare. Several state governments owed salaries to their workers and pensions and gratuities were affected.
To the glory of the ONLY GOD we serve and worship, and through prudent management of the lean resources available to us, we were able to not only pay our salaries regularly, we went ahead to pay pensions and gratuities, an act we are still executing. You will recall that one of the first tasks I performed shortly after being sworn in was to clear a 10 year back-log of pensions and gratuities and I still recall the happiness and excitement you all felt when that intervention was done. The letters of appreciation you wrote to me are still on my desk as I speak.
9. It is remarkable to note that the theme for this year’s Labour Day is Another Hundred Years of Struggle for Jobs, Dignity and Social Justice in Nigeria. I can say here without the slightest feeling of immodesty that under my Administration, we have taken steps to create jobs through our industrialization efforts, bring dignity to our workers through regular payment of salaries and other entitlements and try to have a society where peace, security and social justice form the building blocks of our daily interactions. It appears the organizers of this year’s event had us in mind when they picked the theme because what the Organized Labour seek to achieve this year, we are already in the vanguard of the push to achieve them!
10. As you celebrate this year’s Workers’ Day, I urge you to continue to support our policy drive toward sustainable development. I enjoin the workers not to be willing tools in the hands of some mischief -makers whose stock-in trade is to disseminate falsehood and propaganda, all aimed at de-marketing our State and our achievements.
11. Finally, I want to assure you all that Akwa Ibom State Government will implement the new Minimum Wage Bill which was recently signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR) after necessary documentations have been effected.
We remain passionately committed the welfare of our workers to the full extent of the resources available. I promise to always keep a listening ear to your issues and concerns and together, the peace we have enjoyed all-round will continue to flourish and abound in our State. Akwa Ibom is rising and together with our Organized Labour, it is forward ever, backward never!
12. Thank you and Happy Celebrations! God bless us all!