Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha Thursday swore-in the new Secretary to the State Government, Sir George Eche, who replaced Sir Jude Ejiogu, who was sacked under controversial circumstances by the Governor.
Eche a career Civil Servant and former Accountant General of the State until his appointment was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works.
Speaking during the ceremony at the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chamber, Governor Okorocha disclosed that Eche’s appointment as SSG was to bridge a gap in appointments in the State, noting that in the state, Ngor Okpala, where the new he comes from, is among the most marginalized Local Government Areas in the state.
He urged Eche to unite his people and the entire state.
The Governor expressed optimism that the new SSG will live up to expectation, stressing that his predecessor was not sacked as a result of dishonor, while reminding him also that “every political appointment must end one day”.
In his response, Eche promised that he would bring the needed change to the office of the Secretary to the State Government for better and expressed gratitude to the Governor for finding him worthy for such position.
At the event, the Governor also on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Imo State University Chapter to call off the strike embarked upon by the lecturers in the University.
He expressed shock that the lecturers would go on strike in the second week of March over February salary.
According to him, “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.”
He added further that “we shall continue to keep faith with the workers welfare. If the workers in the state did not go on strike over two months’ salary owed to them, we would have continued to go out of our way to pay them full. But they went on strike over two months’ salary and we then agreed with labour that they should take seventy 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.
“As the allocation dropped further for the month of February, the labour Union in the state may only be able to pay the workers fifty per cent of their salary. The whole thing has been able to let Imolites and the world to understand what the state has been able to do all these while. It is on record that Imo government has kept faith in the past in payment of salaries and allowances until recently when the economic situation in the country has become challenging following the outrageous looting of the resources of the country in the past.
“The workers of Imo state should imbibe the spirit of sacrifice because of the prevailing economic situation at the moment. 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, Job and Factory, Factory campaign of the state government which must be agro based.” (The Nation)