At its Fourth Triennial Delegate Conference in Enugu, which is one of the biggest gatherings of power sector workers, the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Workers awarded Ambassador Godknows Boladei Igali its highest lifetime award on account of his enormous contributions to the growth and stability of the Nigerian Power Sector.
In a gathering that attracted leaders of the Nigerian labour movement, including the President of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama; Comrade Joe Ajero; and Comrade Bede Okpara, Igali was described as a Nigerian of extreme patriotism, integrity and devotion to duty.
Various speakers eulogised the fact that the negotiation of the power sector between government and the labour had hit a gridlock until Igali was transferred to the sector in 2013, during which period he used his rich administrative experience and special diplomatic negotiating skills to clear the blockade and again bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.
The various labour leaders, especially Dr. Chris Okonkwo, President of the Electricity Senior Staff Association, appreciated the fact that Igali also worked out the framework for building of a new approach of the labour movement in a sector which was moving from total government control to private.
Today, the labour movement in the power sector is not just only stronger but had also readjusted to operating in a market economy, Okonkwo said.
In his keynote address presented at the occasion, Igali called on Nigerians to appreciate the contributions of individual staff of the power sector as they have been operating under very difficult conditions due to the poor funding of the sector in Nigeria in comparison to countries such as India, Brazil and Egypt.
He stated that each new megawatt is about $2 million (N700,000,000) for hydro and about $1.3 million (N525,000,000) for thermal and solar.
He insisted that privatisation has brought lots of benefits to the sector due to the high amount of investment coming in from the private sector and the high number of employment of young professionals into the sector.
He appealed to Nigerians to continue to exercise patience as the sector is passing through its most difficult days, which will soon pass away.
The Delegate Conference was attended by thousands of workers from the power sector.
Okonkwo, an engineer with the Transmission Company of Nigeria, was again elected as President General for his second tenure.