I was rewarded for performance- Lalong
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State says workers in the state have rewarded him with another term after he cleared backlog of seven months’ salary arrears and sustained regular payment of salaries.
Lalong said this at a send-off party organised by the state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in honour of its immediate past chairman, Mr Jibrin Banchir.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Banchir has been appointed by Lalong as his Special Adviser on Labour Matters.
The governor, who commended the workers for their supports especially for his re-election, promised to sustain payment of salaries and initiate more worker-friendly programmes.
“When we cleared salary arrears and sustained payment of salaries, some people were saying that payment of salaries is not an achievement and I kept on asking what about non-payment of salaries and nobody answered me.
“I was sleeping one day and some people called to ask me to wake and hear what the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, was saying about me on the television.
“When I woke up, he has finished but somebody recorded it and played it for me, Wabba was raining praises on me for constant payment of salaries and pensions.
“And I said, what else do I need? This is 50 per cent of campaign coming from the labour leader.
“During my party’s screening, other governors were sweating but when I got in, the comrade chairman told me that Mr President made it a condition that any governor who will scale through the primaries must be one that is paying salaries.
“And my case was easy, I took a bow and left,’’ he said.
Lalong said that to make working conditions more conducive, his administration is working towards acquiring land in all Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state to build affordable housing for workers.
He said regular payment of salaries has created an opportunity for 700 civil servants in the state to access N1 million mortgage each to either build or renovate their houses.
According to the governor, if you multiply N1 million by 700, it will be a large sum that will not have been possible if the salaries are not paid as at when due.
The governor said he was a member of the tripartite committee that came up with N30,000 new minimum wage for workers and would not hesitate to pay it when it becomes operational in the country.
He appreciated Banchir for a cordial working relationship while he was the leader of the labour force, and urged him to bring his experience to bear in his new assignment.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, who was represented by Comrade Innocent Dajij, President, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, commended Lalong for his labour-friendly posture.
Wabba stated that he believed strongly that there would be less labour issues in Lalong’s second tenure as governor of the state.
In his remarks, Banchir commended organised labour for the honour done him and promised to be their worthy representative in his new responsibility.
The former chairman said during the time he was in the saddle, there were good and turbulent times and attributed the successes recorded during his tenure to the support he received from workers.
Mr Yarlings Gunshin, the Acting state NLC Chairman, appreciated Lalong for the cordial relationship that existed between him and the workers in the state.
Gunshin appealed to the governor not to be tired of the demands of workers and requested that some outstanding claims of workers be paid.
The acting chairman also appealed to the governor to, in his characteristic and magnanimous manner, pay the N30,000 minimum wage when it takes effect.