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Gov Sani renews relationship with workers, launches N500m loans scheme

In a historic move, Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State personally attended the Workers’ Day ceremony on May 1st, 2024, marking the first time in…

In a historic move, Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State personally attended the Workers’ Day ceremony on May 1st, 2024, marking the first time in nine years a sitting governor participated in such an event.

His presence sparked excitement among attendees, signifying a significant shift in the state government’s approach to its civil servants, who had endured strained relations during the tenure of the previous governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

During El-Rufai’s leadership, workers faced numerous challenges, including mass layoff of teachers and civil servants, leading to protests by the Nigerian Labour Union and its allies.

Governor Sani’s proactive engagement and genuine outreach have injected new hope and optimism into the state’s workforce. His appointment of an advisor on Labour activities further solidified the government’s commitment to fostering a harmonious relationship with labour unions.

In a gesture of economic empowerment, Governor Sani launched a N500 million revolving loans scheme for civil servants, symbolically presenting dummy cheques to some workers at the May Day celebration.

Addressing the crowd, he reiterated his administration’s dedication to prioritizing workers’ welfare and equipping them appropriately within available resources, recognising the crucial role of a motivated workforce in achieving the state’s Rural Transformation Agenda.

He also announced plans for additional economic empowerment initiatives and emphasised the government’s focus on human capital development, poverty reduction, and job creation through investments in various sectors.

In his speech, Governor Sani assured workers of ongoing consultations with labour unions to negotiate a decent salary increase for state and local government employees, reflecting his commitment to advocating for better working conditions.

“For me as Governor of Kaduna State, this year’s May Day is of great significance for two reasons. This is the first May Day Celebration since I became the Governor of Kaduna State. Secondly, the state enjoyed industrial harmony throughout the year. I therefore salute you, the trade union leaders and members for your patriotism and understanding of the state’s precarious fiscal situation.

“We have forged a strategic partnership with the labour unions to advance the interests of workers and improve the living conditions of the poor, vulnerable and underserved in Kaduna State. The labour unions have participated in all our committees on distribution of palliatives,” he said.

On the N500m revolving loans scheme, he said as part of the economic empowerment packages for the state’s civil servants “we have commenced the implementation of the N500m Revolving Loan Scheme. Other economic empowerment initiatives will soon be unfolded for workers in Kaduna State.

“We are attracting investments to create job opportunities for our citizens. We are training and retraining workers to put them in good stead to contribute effectively to the economic development of our dear state,” he said.

Governor Sani further explained that Nigerian Governors, under the platform of the Nigeria Governors Forum are in consultation with the labour unions at the federal and state levels, in order to come up with a decent and acceptable salary increase for state and local government workers.

He boosted that as a comrade and veteran in the struggle for better working conditions for Nigerian workers, he will not rest on his oars until they agree on a wage package that will put smiles on the faces of the state workers.

Comrade Ayuba Magaji Suleiman, Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna State, commended Governor Sani for his commitment to workers’ welfare and involvement of labour unions in decision-making processes.

According to him, the labour has not witnessed the presence of a governor at such occasion in the last nine years.

“We commend the governor for prioritizing workers’ welfare through prompt payment of salaries and allowances, as well as involvement of the labour unions in decision making in the state,” he said.

He seems should focus on our welfare too – Workers

While workers expressed optimism about Governor Sani’s administration, they emphasized the importance of addressing their welfare concerns alongside fostering a positive labour-friendly environment.

A senior civil servant from one of the agencies in the state, who identified himself as Alhaji Hussaini, praised Governor Uba as an activist, saying, “Being in activism before joining politics made him more workers friendly.”

“We are more comfortable with the present Governor Sani compared to his predecessor. However, we urge him to focus on our welfare, which will help cement our relationship for the better.”

Chairman of the National Association of Nurses and Midwife, Kaduna Chapter, Ishaku Yakubu, echoed similar sentiments, stating, “We are optimistic about Governor Sani’s administration, but we also want him to focus on workers’ welfare.”

According to him, Gov Sani has identified with labour by appointing a senior assistant on Labour matters.

“In this aspect, we will say we are comfortable but nothing has been done yet on our welfare. On May Day, we expected a pronouncement from him but there was nothing.

“Our salaries before removal of subsidy is what we are still collecting and the economy is very bad,” he said.

Another civil servant, identified as Jibril, expressed hope in Governor Sani’s administration, saying, “Most of us who survived the policies of the previous government are breathing fresh air of freedom.”

Badamasi Isa, a civil servant who lost his job during El-Rufai’s regime, noted that “Governor Uba Sani has more human relations and loves the state workers than his predecessor.”

As Kaduna State embarks on a new era of growth and development, Governor Uba Sani’s dedication to rebuilding trust and elevating the dignity of the workforce serves as a beacon of hope for all.

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