Addressing workers at the May Day rally to mark the 2014 Workers’ Day at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, yesterday, Oshiomhole said he would not be intimidated to give up the idea.
Oshiomhhole also urged workers to unite in the fight against insurgency in parts of the country, saying no nation develops under an insecure environment.
On the competency test for teachers, he said: “I have a duty to restore the dignity of teachers. I am sure comrades no matter the bitterness in our minds that in recognition of the fact that our future begins today, and that today means investing in education. I did not start by building an ultra-modern government house, as many governors have done in many parts of the country.
“I did not start by building ultra modern residential guest house and I have made no investment in building guest house for my visiting guest, but I decided from day one that I should build schools that can compete with many private ones in the state.
“We have introduced one pupil one desk and I am doing these because proper teaching and learning cannot take place in an atmosphere that is not conducive.
“If I have made such investment to build schools and I proudly show them on television to show what has changed, God will give us the courage to look at the teacher in the face and ask him if he is qualified to be a teacher.
“I want you to remember me when I have vacated office as one who had the courage to look at his electors who are his employers and ask them if they were qualified to teach the students. I have a duty to the Edo child and I want you to remember that it is the children of the poor that are in government schools.
Oshiomhole said as a product of a public school, he would not allow the future of the Edo child to be undermined.
He said “the purpose of the competency test for teachers is not to sack anybody. We need more teachers in the state and I have employed more teachers since I came here than any previous government has done. The previous PDP governments did not only retrench but they placed embargo on employment in the state.”
He said: “let me assure you that competency test is not about sack. Other governors could be intimidated to abandon it. I have a duty to the Edo child and that that duty I must perform. And I will not be intimidated to abandon it”, he said.
While urging workers to stand and speak for Nigeria in the face of insurgency and ethnic champions, he said: “We should be united in the fight against Boko Haram. We should be united against terrorism, because we need a peaceful state for us to do politics.
“Right now, across the country, I only hear the voices of ethnic champions, people who speak for the east, people who speak for the South-South, people who speak for the South-West, speak for the North-East and North-Central among others.
“Where are the spokespersons for Nigeria? Everyone has become an ethnic champion. Even those who have the opportunity to preside at the national level, they have recoiled to their parts of the country. I ask you and I, as workers to build solidarity across the Niger. You must build solidarity across all the primordial sentiment.
“Not even national boundaries will define our relationship. So ask you to remain dogged in the fight for Nigeria, to remain dogged on issues of national security. They are not issues to be politicized.
“The truth is that poverty has united the poor between the North and South and wealth has united the rich across the North and South. You must not allow people to play up this divide; and play brothers against brothers. In fact, in the Trade Union Congress we talk about the working class of the world. “
On Edo Line, Oshiomhole said: “I have already directed beginning from today all those workers who were laid off to be reinstated and their salary should be commerce.”
He assured that those whose names were removed from vouchers and had legitimate approval to go on study leave should have their names restored in the pay rolls.
Earlier the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Emma Ademokun and his Trade Union counterpart, Comrade Charles Oronsaye, appreciated the governor for approving salary relativity for workers.
They appealed to the governor to regularize the employment of identified casual workers and improve on the relationship beween labour and government.