CELEBRATING A LABOUR ICON
'The heights by great men reached and kept were not
Attained by sudden flight, but they, while their
Companions slept, were toiling upwards
In the night'
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [1907 - 1882]
THIS quote is very apt and best described the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Ngozicheneke Wogu, CON who has distinguished himself as a member of the Federal Executive Council of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for two consecutive terms.
His appointment as Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity must have been a divine ordination to coincide with deepening global financial and economic crisis. He is indeed a gift to all Nigerian workers.
Chief Wogu was born on the 29th day of January 1965 in Umuahia Abia State South East of Nigeria. He enrolled and completed both Primary and Secondary Schools. Chief Wogu proceeded to the then Imo State University for his legal study, and finished in 1986 and proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in 1987.
In preparation for the onerous task he is now saddled with, Chief Emeka Wogu was appointed a two-term Commissioner, at the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission [RMAFC]. Where he served as one of the longest serving Commissioners, on the Board of the Commission. His assignments and responsibilities at the Commission honed his dispute resolution skills and sharpened his capacity to constructively engage on various national socio_economic issues.
The Administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR must have seen these sterling qualities, experience and credentials before reappointing the Aba-born arbitrator to be in charge of the teaming workforce of the federation. No wonder he is at home with reconciling the various conflicting labour management interest, conciliating, mediating and resolving disputes at the workplace to guarantee the nation industrial peace and harmony for economic growth and prosperity.
As a fellow of the chartered Nigeria Institute of Management, Chief Wogu has mastered the fine principles of conflict management and succeeded in institutionalising the concept and practice of social dialogue and consultation among the three social partners. As an impartial arbiter and strong advocate of 'decent work and social protection', the Honourable Minister was a member of the committee that negotiated and processed for enactment a new National Minimum Wage Act after 10 years.
The debate, rugged negotiation and understanding that culminated in the new wage regime are glowing testimonies to Chief Wogu's commitment to uplifting the general welfare of Nigerian workers.
In the task of nation building through appropriate policy formulation and implementation, Chief Emeka Wogu has made his mark as evidenced in his role in the recently initiated removal of subsidy in the Premium Motor Spirit [PMS] policy of the federal government. He reasoned, dialogued and engaged the organised labour on the expected benefits of the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. While sharing due understanding on the anticipated short-term pains of the policy implementation, the Minister repeatedly appealed to members of his immediate constituent to trust government and give the policy chance to yield the envisaged massive derivatives.
It is on record that during his tenure as the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity that pay relativity in salaries of the Federal Civil Servants have been restored.
This has put to rest the age-long struggles in the Service. Also to his credit is the enactment of the Employee's Compensation Act 2010 which is an additional social protection floor for all workers who may sustain injury at the workplace. Under his leadership, a National Productivity Policy is at its final stage of approval and implementation.
National Policy on Productivity Measurement, legislative in the Oil and Gas industry with respect to casual and contract staffing, local content policy on employment among others.
At the international fora, Chief Emeka Wogu led Nigeria's delegations to International Labour Organization Conferences [ILC] and other African Regional Labour Summits. His dream to create jobs and source for technical support in the area of job creation resulted in the visit of ILO Director of Employment Mr. Manuel Salazar to the country late last year. Chief Wogu did not forget the adage that 'charity begins at home'.
Under his able leadership, the Headquarter of the Ministry is wearing a new look. He has provided basic working facilities, extra office accommodation for staff and a great deal of other incentives increase such as capacity building to improve staff productivity.
He was able to accomplish all these through the support and cooperation of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Anthony Ozodinobi, Directors, Heads of Parastals and the entire staff members of the Ministry who stood by him during the trying days of national strikes and lockouts.
The entire staff of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity as well as the workforce of Nigeria celebrate with our own high-flier on the occasion marking the celebration of your 47th Birthday
Mr. SAMUEL OLOWOOKERE, asst. dir.(Press) wrote from Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity