Teachers in Ebonyi have pledged to “sail or sink’’ with Gov. David Umahi in reciprocation of his support to their programmes and activities.
The teachers made the pledge on Tuesday when the newly-elected executive of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Ebonyi branch, paid the governor a visit and pledged to continue supporting his administration.
The union’s Chairman, Mr Egwu Elechi, said that the teachers would be the governor’s foot-soldiers and would work assiduously to ensure his victory at the 2019 gubernatorial poll.
“Since the reward for hardwork is more work, we join other well-meaning Ebonyians to assure that you will return to the Government House in 2019.
“Your administration has transformed the Ebonyi landscape to the admiration of all and made governance all-inclusive,” he said.
The NUT chairman noted that education had received priority attention in the state’s governance which had fetched the state several laurels in that sector.
“It is noteworthy that the state has not recorded any industrial action in the education sector among other sectors, since the inception of this administration.
“The government has placed high premium on human capital development and maintained regular payment of teachers and other workers’ salaries,” he said.
He thanked the governor for extending the government’s Christmas largesse to teachers which included the donation of 300, 000 bags of 5kg rice and N1 million to them.
“We appeal that you approve the implementation of our promotions as other ministries, departments and agencies have been enjoying theirs since May.
“Teachers also passionately appeal that you approve the pay-roll deduction of all our approved levies such as welfare dues, co-operative savings and Teachers Registration Council’s annual licence fees.
“We also request that you assist our principals and head-teachers by giving them running costs and providing them with essential aids,” he said.
Umahi in his response, hailed the teachers for their commitment, noting that they were not redundant and work whether there is money or not.
“We will pay special attention to our education sector vis-as vis our teachers who need regular training for optimum efficiency.
“We have a vision in 2019 where teachers and the government would collaborate, as they and the students would smile at the end,” he said.
He said that the issue of promotion arrears would be reviewed as the amount the teachers were agitating for was exorbitant and unrealistic.
“I don’t know anywhere in the country where Primary and Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) teachers take N334 million for one year.
“It is not good for the union to deceive teachers as I set up a committee on the issue which reported that such amount is not paid even in the Niger Delta areas where promotion is notional.
“Unfortunately in Ebonyi, we are shouting as if the end has come and I was happy that the organised labour was part of the committee that went round the country,” he said.
He donated N1 million out of the N2 million pledge he made to the union for the furnishing of its new secretariat and pledged to offset the balance and donation of bus in January 2019.