Organized Labour Union’s Strike: The Faces Of Propaganda In Imo State

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When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

Propaganda, which is nothing more than just a slogan directed at the adversary, missed up as fact when in reality it is purely and simply an unproven opinion has taken up permanent residence in some civil servants who have constituted themselves as meddlesome interlopers in the affairs of the State.

Anyone who is following the politics of Imo state would agree with me that the coming of the people's governor for a fact upped the democratic stake in Imo state and also increased the political consciousness of our people. This is evidently seen in all the facets of the governor's administration. No past government of Imo State had recorded more peaceful demonstrations or protests by its citizens than the present government; it is not by design or happenstance but rather because the governor is readily available and always willing to give everyone a listening ear, unlike what obtained in the past, where such demonstrators were beaten, tear gassed and in extreme cases, people shot dead by our trigger happy police men deployed to disperse the crowd.

Some conceited politicians of the old corrupt political order in the State have taken advantage of the situation to cause unnecessary tension in the State using some “highly partisan civil servants” who have sacrificed public service ethics and values on the altar of partisan politics.

On Wednesday, 10th of February, 2016, an attempt was made by the umbrella body of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUIC) who called out workers of Imo State to rubbish, debase and undermine the integrity the people's governor, His Excellency, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

The Health workers, in collaboration with the National body of Nigeria Labour Congress and some misguided elements barricaded the streets to carry out their earlier threats of shutting down the State to protest the suspension of workers of some parastatals, Agencies and health establishments in the State. The protest was as a result of failure of labour and the labour unions in the State to accept the 70% offer of the total income accrued to the State from of the federation's account while the remaining 30% would be for the rest of the State.

After much deliberations and negotiations, the two parties accepted that NLC in the State would take 70% while the remaining 30% would be taken by government to run capital expenditure and other sectors of the State.

What this simply means is that, less than 30, 000 Imolites who constitute the State's work force will be taking 70% of the State's monthly allocation while about 4.5 million Imolites would be left with just 30% of the allocation. Owelle is unmoved with such an agreement as long as he wouldn't be subjected to borrowing money just to pay workers' salaries and satisfy labour unions and their individual quests in the State.

Only a magician will turn around the fortunes of the State with just 30% of the federal allocation, but His Excellency, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha is unperturbed, he has begun making use of the available resources to turn around the fortunes of the State by massively investing in developmental projects by converting every available space into haven for industrial growth and development, building state of the art hospitals, schools, tourist havens etc.

The governor in a press briefing at the State House, Wednesday, 10th February, contended that the era of borrowing money just to pay workers who could not justify their pay is gone, adding that the resources which used to hold this nation at the expenditure level has declined massively, insisting that “the best and viable way to ensure productivity and profitability in the health sector is concession”. Using the success recorded so far in the concessioning of Concord Hotel, Imo Transport Company (ITC), Imo Water Corporation, Ochiedike Diagnostic Centre etc as an example of State institutions that have been made functional to serve Imo people and generate profit.

Speaking further, the APC National Chairman, Sir John Odigie Oyegun, told the press “that his presence in Imo State is an indication that the leadership of APC is concerned on behalf of the governor, the workers and the good people of Imo State.  All parties involved must sit down and work out the best possible solution in this present circumstance we have found ourselves as a nation” and advised the parties involved to “confront reality and find a workable and acceptable solution to the issues at hand”.

The crowd that beseeched the premises of the Government House Chapel as early as 7am Wednesday, 10th February, with various inscriptions on their placards supporting the Rescue Mission Government's concession of unproductive parastatals and agencies with over bearing wage bills, are is clear indications that the coming of Owelle  has for a fact, upped the political consciousness of our people,  and they would not joke with or standby and watch a few selfish individuals truncate  any policy that will enhance efficiency, productivity and profitability in the State.

The people's governor, in his response acknowledged the mandate of the jubilant crowd and allayed fears that he is under pressure to end free education in the State, in his words, “the free education policy must continue so that children of the poor must go to school”, he also re-assured them that even with the decline in revenue accruing to the State, his vision of foreign investment drive, industrialization, job and wealth creation, is on course.  This is evident in the numerous projects scattered across the State, and appealed to them to remain law abiding and avoid confrontation with NLC protesters.

The governor's action could be likened to one of Henry Ford's, great quotes, “There are two fools in this world, one is the millionaire who thinks by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power and the other is a penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the money from one class and give it to another, all the world's ill will be cured.”

I see two kinds of Imolites in the above quote, those who are satisfied with an Imo State bereft of health care, good roads, sound education, infrastructures and industries and those who insist, “IMO MUST BE BETTER”! The former are often the faces of propaganda that profits from a system that allows a few to live off the misery of the larger populace.  The Rescue Mission Government of His Excellency, Owelle Dr. Anayo Rochas Okorocha is proud to be counted among the latter group.

***This piece is a contribution from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) Imo State Government House

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