Members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Imo State Branch have adopted Governor Hope Uzodimma for re-election.
The adoption is the first in the history of the Imo State.
They did on Tuesday at their Headquarters, Senior Citizens Centre on Orlu Road, Owerri during their 2023 Pensioners Day celebration.
In what was obviously the mother of all adoptions, the pensioners said that no Governor since the days of former Governor Achike Udenwa has been as kind and considerate about their plight as Governor Uzodimma.
They said that Governor Uzodimma has remained religious in his payment of their pensions and other palliatives due to them.
Three Pensioners drawn from the three zones of the State had moved the motion for Governor Uzodimma’s adoption.
Comrade Alexander Umunnakwe (Orlu) had moved the motion for his adoption which was seconded by Chief Laz Ejiogu (Okigwe) and Mrs. Stella Alozie of (Owerri).
The motion was put to vote by the Chairman of Pensioners in Imo State, Chief Sir Josiah Ugochukwu and in a voice vote, all the pensioners affirmed that Governor Uzodimma is their sole candidate for the November 11 governorship election in Imo.
They said they will cast their votes for the Governor to continue with his good works for Pensioners in Imo State and to consolidate on the gains he has recorded so far.
They also proceeded to give the Governor an award as “the most Pensioners Friendly Governor for Imo State.”
Expressing his gratitude and thanks for the endorsement and the award, the Governor assured the Pensioners that by the end of the year they would have been receiving their gratuity, expressing happiness that over 95 percent of them are currently receiving their monthly pensions.
On the minor percentage of pensioners who are yet to receive their pay, he assured them that a committee of the Head of the Service and Chairman of Pensioners and others is working out the issues surrounding their case. He promised that he will never renege in continually paying them their allowances.
He promised that the few persons will start getting paid their pensions before November, 11, 2023.
Governor Uzodimma said that he is committed to ensure that they don’t continue to regret the youthful years they invested in working for Imo State.
He thanked them for their sense of organization and discipline, noting that they have been decent in their demands.
Governor Uzodimma recalled the various problems surrounding the payment of pensions when he came to office in 2020 when there was no single data “as different people were carrying different lists and records.
“The consequence of these was the initial delay in the payment of pensions.”
He promised that “no matter how long it takes for a pensioner to start receiving his pensions the arrears will be paid in due course.”
He congratulated the Pensioners on their Day and reminded them that they don’t “need to go to court to get their entitlement” and appealed to them to be patient with his Government in all other demands they are making.
The Governor told the Pensioners that the delay in the payment of gratuity is partly because of the huge debts he inherited on assumption of office – N320 billion – and informed them that his administration has been able to reduce the debt to N162 billion, a situation the Debt Management Office (DMO) has given him approval to apply for bond to pay the gratuities.
He assured them that all pensioners will receive a certain percentage of their gratuity when payment commences “because the gratuity debt is too big to be paid once.”
Governor Uzodimma described his support and endorsement as well as the award given to him as “organic and natural,” and coming from the bottom of the pensioners hearts.
He also thanked the leadership of the Pensioners and Labour at both the State and National levels and promised that he will not disappoint their expectations.
In his remarks at the occasion the Special Adviser on Labour Matters, Comrade Austin Chilakpo described the Governor as loving, kind and exceptional.
He said that since Governor Uzodimma’s assumption of office in Imo State he has made Pensioners welfare a top priority.
“Since 2020 the Governor came on board no worker has been sacked in the Imo State’s work force” and that “the Governor’s promise to pay the gratuity was not forced on him.”
He tanked the pensioners for endorsing him as their sole candidate for the coming governorship election.
In his address, the State Chairman of Nigerian Union of Pensioners and South East Chairman, Chief (Sir) Josiah Ugochukwu corroborated that the Governor deserves a second tenure for all his welfare packages to Imo Pensioners as can be observed in their regular pensions, 13th month payments and even in the last palliative to them to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
He emphasized that “in the South East States, it is only Imo State Pensioners that were considered in the sharing of the said palliative.”
He appealed to the Governor to include the few percentage of pensioners that are not yet receiving their pensions in the payroll of Pensioners, in addition to helping to re-roof their Centre.
He personally announced that the adoption by the Pensioners for the Governor is “MOTHER OF ALL ADOPTIONS”.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Barr Josiah Eze who is also the Special Adviser on Labour Education thanked the Governor for his “unquantifiable magnanimity to the pensioners in Imo State.”
Eze said that part of the reason they insisted that the Governor should come for the celebration “is to tell him that come 11th of November, 2023 the pensioners are with him 100%.”
“The train is for the Governor.”
Present at the occasion were the Chief of Staff, Bar. Nnamdi Anyaehie, members of the State expanded Exco, the National President of NUP, Comrade Ikechukwu Asumisi, and other National Officers.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor