Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, has sworn-in career civil servant, Sir George Eche, as the new Secretary to the Government of Imo State, SGI, who replaces Sir Jude Ejiogu that was dropped penultimate week by the governor.
Speaking at the event, Governor Okorocha used the opportunity to call on the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Imo State University, IMSU chapter, to call off their industrial action over non-payment of salaries.
He expressed shock that the lecturers embarked on the industrial action in the University, in the second week of March, over non payment of the month of February salary.
He said, “It is shocking that the ASUU in IMSU told lecturers to go on strike in the second week of March because of February salary, and when they had been paid full salary for the month of January. This is shocking. It is not acceptable to the state government. ASUU in IMSU should call off the strike without delay because it was by all standard not justifiable and not advisable.”
Continuing, Okorocha said he would continue to keep faith with the workers welfare, adding that if the workers in the state did not go on strike over two months’ salaries owed them, government would have continued to go out of its way to pay them full salaries.
“But they went on strike over two months salary and we then agreed with labour that they should take 70 per cent of the total income of the state to pay salaries and pensions, while the government takes only thirty per cent for capital expenditure. And now, they have seen the truth of what we have been telling them about the finances of the state,” Okorocha said.
While saying that since the February allocation further dipped, the organized labour in the state, may only be able to pay 50 per cent of workers’ salaries.
His words: “Imo workers should imbible the spirit of sacrifice because of the prevailing economic situation. They should show concern. Imo people should also show understanding. The state has the highest number of ghost workers. The government has set aside N3.5billion for the job and factory campaign slogan of the state government, which must be agro based.”
He described the appointment and inauguration of the new SGI was to “bridge a gap”, pointing out that Ngor Okpala, where the new scribe comes from, Ohaji/Egbema and Onuimo are the most marginalized and unfairly treated local council areas in the state.
While urging Sir Eche to unite his people, Owerri zone and by extension the state, Okorocha howeverexpressed optimism that the new SGI would leave up to expectation.
“Your predecessor, Sir. Jude Ejiogu, was never sacked out of dishonour. He put in his best but you must remember a all times that every political appointment must end one day”, Okorocha said.
In his vote of thanks Sir Eche promised that he would bring the needed change to the office of the SGI for better, even as he expressed gratitude to the Governor for finding him worthy for such position.