The attention of the Government has just been drawn to the widely circulated statement credited to the ORGANISED LABOUR INFORMATION BUREAU on its directive to pay 80% of the September, 2016 salary owed by the immediate past administration.
The deliberate distortion of facts can only deceive a few. The Administration of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN, has been transparent since inception in February, 2017. There has been no major administrative decision taken, bordering on workers’ welfare, without due consultations with the union leadership.
It is, therefore, shocking that those who participated in the series of meetings held on the issue concerning the payment of salary arrears can turn round to deceive workers after all the facts had been laid bare to them. The Government would not have bothered to respond to the lies contained in the said bulletin released but for the fact that its content stand at variance with the often vaunted claims of altruistic representation. This Administration will continue to place the welfare of the people above all other considerations.
The Paris Club refund accruable to Ondo State is N6.38billion (NET) and not N7.03billion as claimed. This fact was made known to the representatives of the union at a public forum, Cocoa Conference Hall, Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure. It is the height of irresponsibility, therefore, to tell lies on a fact released without any prompting. Keen watchers of events of this Administration, since inception, should see through this lie. The Government has paid a month salary out of 7 months arrears owed by the last Administration and has not owed salaries since assumption of office.
It is on record that some states of the Federation allocated 50% of the total refund to offset salaries and the remaining 50% for capital projects. Ondo State has agreed to allocate 75% of the total sum to pay pensioners in full, offset part of the gratuities owed retirees, release subventions to institutions and parastatals and to pay 80% of the September salary. The remaining 25% is for capital projects. It is rather disturbing to note that those who claim to serve the public will insist that the government should reserve nothing for the generality of the people who constitute over 95% of the populace.
The reference to the July salary paid to Local Government workers appears disingenuous. Selfless union leaders owe their members a duty to always speak the truth and to act in their best interest at all times. Local Government workers are not even in a position to demand full payment of September, 2016 salary. There has been a consistent shortfall in the allocations released to the Local Governments since May, 2017. The State Government received 67% (N4.467b) of the refund while the Local Government got 33% (N2.169b). The July 2017 salary was paid with this fund, not September 2016 salary, as mischievously peddled.
It is probably unnecessary to dignify those who over assume their relevance that their support secured the resounding victory for the Governor. While we will continue to acknowledge the unalloyed support of the workers in the state, we must hasten to debunk this snide suggestion. The good people of this state voted for the realistic manifesto presented. We promised that their welfare would be the directive principle of state policy under our watch. The allegiance of this government is to them and not a select few.
No worker should be afraid of persecution in this dispensation. No one will, however, enjoy unmerited privileges. No amount of blackmail can stampede this Administration to take decisions which will be inimical to the interests of the generality of the people who are not in the employ of the Government. Those who are just waking up to their mandate as Union Leaders must be asked to explain their roles in the pauperization of the mass of workers in the not too distant past. They should be able to tell workers how their affairs got to this sorry state.
The deserving will be promoted.
Dr Doyin Odebowale
Senior Special Assistant,
Special Duties & Strategy
Ondo State Government