By Martins Chinonso Nwede

June 9, 2020 makes it exactly one year of the appointment of Comr. Mrs. Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor as Special Assistant to the Ebonyi state governor on Inter Party and Labour Matters.

When she took her oath of office and was sworn-in on the 10th of July, 2019, friends and associates, particularly those who hitherto, knew her dexterity, commitment and capacity did not mince words in describing her appointment as SA on Inter-Party and Labour Matters as a round peg in a round hole in view of her wealth of knowledge in managing unionists and comradeship affairs.

Before her appointment as SA, Comr. Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor had long began her political career when as an undergraduate student at the Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki contested and won the seat of Vice President of the Students Union Government (SUG), the highest students Union body in the univeesity in 2013.

On completion of her tenure as Vice President, she took a step further to contest and win the position of Assistant Secretary General of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) zone B which comprises of the South-East and the South-South Nigeria.

She later joined, and became the Ebonyi state Chairman of the Kowa party and contested and won the State Chairmanship of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the umbrella body of all registered political parties in Nigeria from where she was spotted by the eagle eyes of His Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi, FNSE, FNATE, and appointed Special Assistant on Inter-Party and Labour Matters.

Unarguably, the primary responsibility of an SA on Inter-Party and Labour Matters is to initiate, maintain and sustain goodwill, favourable dispositions, mutual understanding, and overall harmonious relationship between the government and the organised Labour/political parties in the state.

Consequently, Comr. Mrs. Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor, upon assumption of office as the governor’s aide on Inter-Party and Labour Matters, immediately swung into action, first, by convening an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting of all labour unions in the state, including the Trade Union Congress to dialogue on all the major fears, worries, and challenges of the unions and to chat the way forward.

Re-occurring in the issues raised by the labour leaders bothered mainly on the minimum wage, transportation challenges, better communication channels with government, promotion, pension and gratuities, among others.

When communicated to His Excellency, the workers friendly governor, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi wasted no time in begining to address these identified issues. Firstly, His Excellency immediately approved and commenced the payment of the minimum wage beginning from the first week of January, this year, 2020, becoming the first governor to do so in the entire South East Nigeria.

To tackle the transport challenges of workers as raised by the labour leaders, the State government through the office of the Special Assistant on Inter-Party and Labour Matters immediately relaunched the Ebonyi State Workers Assisted Transport Scheme. The return of the transport scheme was quite unique following the addition of over thirty electric powered tricycles purchased by His Excellency to support the existing Macapollo buses earlier procured by the state government for the workers.

Whereas the injection of the tricycles into the scheme no doubt contributes to reducing the problem of youths unemployment in the state, it also puts Ebonyi state government on the map as the first in the entire country to introduce fuelless automobiles into the public transport sector.

Again, to bridge the gap in communication between the government, the organised labour and indeed, the general public, the office of the SA on Inter-Party and Labour Matters in alliance with the Ebonyi Broadcasting Co-orporation, EBBC, initiated a 60 minutes weekly phone-in live radio programme christened ‘Workers Hour’ which served as a rendezvous for workers and indeed, the general public to interact with the government and exchange ideas.

TFurthermore, to foster greater transparency in the Civil Service System, the office of the Special Assistant Inter-Party and Labour Matters in conjunction with the office of the Head of Service carried out a holistic state-wide Workers Verification exercise, including workers at both the State level and the Local Government Areas.

In the same vein, the Office of the SA on Inter-Party and Labour Matters has also organised an entrepreneurship training for Artisans in the state earlier in the year to acquint the members of the artisan community in the state with requisite skills for the entire but untapped opportunities in their chosen career in the state.

One other area where Comr. Mrs. Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor deserves commendations is in the currently existing peace among political parties in Ebonyi state. This, of course didn’t come by chance, but through a deliberate, planned and sustained efforts of the Comrade SA, together with her doggedness and unrelenting commitment at establishing good relationship with the leadership and the laities of IPAC both at the national and state levels.

Under her watch, IPAC in the state, in late 2019 conducted a peaceful election, adjudged free and fair by both the Nigerian electoral umpore, INEC, national delegates of IPAC, as well as the various security agencies in the state.

In fulfilment of the popular aphorism that charity begins at home, Comr. Mrs. Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor has attracted a UBEB project of six classroom block to Community Primary School, Ndufu Ogboji in Ezza-North LGA of Ebonyi. She had also, at two different occasions hosted the widows and the indigent members of her primary constituency in Ohinya Ogboji with food items, cash donations and material gifts as succour and palliatives.

In her quest to showcase the good works of His Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi in Ebonyi state to the international community, Comr. (Mrs.) Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor has initiated and established partnership with some International organisations such as the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Development Integrity and Intervention Goals Foundation popularly known as DIG Foundation, among others.

Similarly, Mrs Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor within her one year in office has represented the state government in several functions both within and outside the state, including representing His Excellency Excellency Engr Dave Umahi at the e-Nigeria Conference aimed at achieving National Digital Economy held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja between November 28th-29th, 2019 where she made contributions adjudged invaluable by the organisers.

She has also represented Ebonyi state in a government/Public Sector Accountability Programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) held at Awka, Anambra State in August, 2019.

Within her first one year in office as SA to His Excellency, Comr. Mrs. Adibe-Nwafor has featured in several Exco Committees. Among them:
*Member, Exco committee on new minimum wage

•Member, Gratuity and Pension Committee

• Secretary, Unserviceable Vehicle Committee

• Member, Electric Tricycle Committee

•Member, Allocation of Industries Committee

•Chairman, 2019/2020 EBSG Agro-based Loan for Civil Servants disbursement

•Member, Primary Schools teachers Training Committee

•Member, Verification of State and Local Government workers Committee

•Member, Committee on Extended Special Public Works program across the 774 LGAs of the Federation, etc.

It was perhaps, in recognition of her capacity to deliver timely on any given assignment, that His Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi two weeks ago, added to her office the King David Gifted Children Academy, thereby, making her a three-in-one SA: Inter- Party Affairs, Labour Matters and King David Gifted Children Academy.

As Comr. Mrs. Jenmifer Adibe-Nwafor marks her one year in office on 10th July, 2020, her profound gratitude will continually go to first and foremost, His Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi and her dear wife, our amiable mummy, Chief Mrs. Rachel Umahi, who have found her worthy to serve in these capacities.

Also, coming at a time when the entire world is plagued by the novel covid-19 pandemic, this one year anniversary in office provides the opportunity to pray for one another, particularly for the quick recovery of our dear father and the workaholic governor of our dear state, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi in order to continue with his transformational programmes and policies in the state.

In the like manner, Comr. Jennifer uses the unique opportunity of her one year anniversary in office to equally appreciate our able Deputy Governor, Barr. Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe and wife, our dynamic SSG, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, the Speaker of the Ebonyi state House of Assembly, Chief Ogbonnaya Nwifuru, our ever pragmatic Chief Judge, and the entire state executive council members, friends and well-wishers for their great show of love and support in the past one year.

Her special appreciation equally goes to her amiable husband, Dr. Kenneth Adibe Nwafor, and their little kids: Daniella and David for providing the needed support and enabling environment to work.

Above all, to God be the glory!

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