Delta State teachers have shown great solidarity with their own, shunning all forms of intimidation from the state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa to deal cruelly with them if they choose to throw their weights behind their choice candidate in the just concluded Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), election which saw Comrade Titus Okotie as the new chairman of the Union in the state.
The Special Adviser to the state Governor on Labour Relations and SERVICOM, Comrade Mike Okeme was chased out of the NUT election over alleged attempt to smuggle ballot papers into the venue of the election.
Comrade Okeme who stormed La-Diva Hotel, along Labour House Road off Okpanam Road, the venue of the election with suspected thugs who carried the purported ballot papers during collation of votes was alleged to be playing the script of Governor Okowa to impose a Delta North candidate but the clandestine move was resisted by the angry and hungry looking teachers.
The teachers who were visibly mad over their five months unpaid salaries vowed to do everything humanly possible to stop Okowa from imposing the state chairman of NUT on them.
The Delta State chapter wing of the 6th Quadrennial (7th) state Delegates Conference and election had two persons contesting for the chairmanship position, Comrade Tomothy Umukoro who was allegedly sponsored by and Comrade Titus Okotie, whom the teachers gave sympathy votes.
Our orrespondent who monitored the election reports that Governor Okowa through his SA and Commissioner for Secondary and Basic Education, Chiedu Ebie threatened to sanction some Education Secretaries (ES) across the state of their positions if they aligned themselves with the unpaid teachers to vote out government candidate.
It was also gathered that spies were sent by government officials to monitor those ES and the election while other SEs out of fear did all possible tricks to enthrone government candidate to no avail.
The teachers ignored the presence of the government spies and dished out protest votes against the government candidate Umukoro and allowed their own, Comrade Okotie to clinch the state chairmanship position.
Our correspondent observed that before and during the election Delegates were already jubilating because they were sure of their candidate winning the election.
Speaking during the election, Comrade Chief Ogonegbu Nathaniel Secretary Ukwuani local government chapter said at the end of the election the SA to the governor on Labour came but he was not allowed into the venue. It was at that time that a man was apprehended trying to smuggle a carton of ballot papers through one of the side doors.
Another teacher who pleaded anonymity said Okeme’s mission to the election venue was a clandestine move, aimed at ensuring that the government’s candidate emerged but was rattled.
A teacher from Ughelli North chapter of the Union who simply identified herself as Onajite, said, “the jubilation shows a clear victory, teachers interest should be protected”, calling on government to pay salaries as at when due especially to the primary school teachers whom she said are suffering over non-payment of salaries.
According to her, “promotion should be given to teachers who are due for promotion. Teachers should no longer be shortchanged. The money used in buying the clock in machine would have been used to pay teachers’ salaries”, she insisted.
Another source who spoke under strict anonymity said “Okowa should remember that societal election is coming ahead, he should rather know that as he is fighting to impose a chairman on us, we can decide to boycott the 2019 governorship election”, adding that if the governor was afraid of the teachers choice, he should rather parley with him and see how to better the lots of teachers and not to threaten them.