Govt. Has Not Fulfilled Its Promise To Workers-Labour Leader

Nigerian workers discuss their pitiable state on a daily basis, and conclude that Government is not ready to make life bearable for them. In this interview with Federationews2day, the immediate past Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC)Oyo state council, who is also an ex-official of the TUC, the state Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCN)Oyo state chapter and South west coordinator of the Socialist Workers league, Comrade Andrew Emelieze,  says government is insensitive to the plight of Nigerian workers.

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Excerpts :

How have your members fared under the economic recession ?

As regards the issue of the recession, in the first place, those who claim to have announced that Nigeria is in recession are the same people who put the country in recession, the ruling class, they are the same people that have now come out to say that Nigeria is out of recession.

We might to some extent agree with them, looking at the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market, and the rise in the GDP, we might want to say that, technically, Nigeria is out of recession. The question we will now ask thereafter, is how will it impact on the people of Nigeria, especially the workers and the senior civil servants, which I represent.

It is too early to judge, but then, looking at the history of Government and governance in Nigeria, especially this government, which we all know that it is a multi government, they talk so much, even based on so many things that they cannot achieve, one might begin to also think  that it might still be the same old story and that Nigerians might not feel any impact. On the issue of recession, especially now that the ruling class has started the struggle for 2019 elections and so one might not eventually, get anything that will benefit  the Nigerian working class, on the issue of Nigeria getting out of recession. Also, looking at the struggle for the minimum wage, now that the Government says we are out of recession, one will also expect the Nigerian Government to say that there is hope for a new national minimum wage. The workers have endured for over two years in very harsh conditions. And the Government has been able to manoeuvre us within this period and they have not been able to achieve a new minimum wage for workers.

Now that we are out of recession and they have announce it, we should expect them to also announce that, even without  negotiating with the labour movement, that Government should be able to pay a particular amount of money as new minimum wage, then let labour come out to say that Government has announced is too small. In fact our earlier position  was that the new national min mum wage should be anchored on the President’s salary. And what we are saying here, is that if equity and justice must prevail i Nigeria, whatever our  President is earning as the Chief Executive of the country, he should be able to give part of it as minimum wage and what is it we are  demanding, at our own local level here, we have been able to do our arithmetic and we have  said that the President should graciously give the Nigerian working class one per cent of his own salary, we are not talking about allowances. Just one per cent of his own salary as new national minimum wage. And if he is able to do that, I think everything is anchored around him, then now begin to believe that the President has  a sense of justice. Besides, coming out of recession, we also expect that government, will fulfill its promise to pay workers all  it owes them at the local, state and federal levels. Before now, at the federal level, lots of allowances are  been owed workers, especially promotion allowances, transfer allowances and Basic Travel Allowances. It should be noted that there have been attempts by the labour movement especially our association, Association of Senior Civil Servants to put pressure on government to see how it can pay this money. What we’ve been hearing is that they’ve released so, so and so amount of money, N20 billion, N40 billion, they are compiling, they are yet to pay and people are just too tired of  hearing these excuses. Money that they have been owing for the past 7, 8, 9, 10 years. And with this government coming on board, they promised that they will pay these allowances, two years after, they have not paid these allowances owed federal workers. In fact, if you look at the allowances owed federal workers, the money owed them is even more than what  states which have not been able to pay salaries to their workers in the past 7 to 8 months owed them.  Those in a particular level are not receiving salaries for that level. Tkae for instance, someone  in grade level 12 is still receiving salary  of someone in grade level 9. And that is the predicament we find ourselves. If you go the Federal secretariat, all over the federation,  you see workers who are not happy, they are confused, in fact, even their condition of service is such that most times, they lament and regret that they took up jobs to work for their country. Apart from the fact that the pay is too poor, N18,000 minimum wage, all the allowances owed them has not been paid. they are no longer motivated to work. If you go to most offices now at the federal level, it is zero allocation. Money is not coming from Abuja. They don’t have money to operate. The various  Directors are just in the offices, almost  made redundant by the Federal Government. Probably the money has been budgeted for, but  it is not leaving Abuja. It is our strong belief that now that they have announced the end of recession, they should explore way through which the state Governors can have enough funds to clear the arrears of  workers’ salaries, gratuities  of pensioners, including the issue of social security for the unemployed. Unfortunately, nothing is  been done in this regard, based on what we’ve bee hearing  at the Federal level and even from the Governors.

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Coronation of 21 Obas : Oyo Govt. is very Fraudulent- Sen. Rashidi Ladoja

As the controversy over the recent installation of 21 Traditional rulers in Ibadanland by the Oyo state Governor rages, a former Governor of the state, who is also the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, in this interview with Journalists at his Ondo street, Bodija, Ibadan, residence says  the state Government acted fraudulently. Federationews2day was there. Excerpts :

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 The bone of contention today in Ibadanland , is the  interference of Government in the Traditional institution ? What is your position on this ?

Where do We start from ? It is not the responsibility of Government to tamper with the 1959 declaration, because they tried to mislead the people, they are now saying it is not the 1959 declaration, it is the 1957 declaration. The 1957 law was the chief’s law, it was under the chief’s law that the 1959 declaration was  gotten. It stated clearly that it was not the responsibility of anybody to do embark on amendment. We are not having the Olubadan of Oyo state, we are having the Olubadan of Ibadanland, so why do you have to bring somebody from Ibarapa, somebody from Oyo, and some people from Oke-Ogun to amend our own declaration. It is not the responsibility of the Oyo state Government to tamper with the Olubadan Chieftaincy  declaration, the case is still in court. And from what we are seeing the Government seems not to respect the courts again. Why did they start after work on Friday and ended on Sunday ? What is the cause ? Are those people going to, die ? They distributed the letters under floodlights, I see what happened in Mapo as a theatre.  If you want to amend the law, you know the procedure. The procedure is that when you amend the law you take it to the House, anyway we expect that he is going to bribe the legislators in the House. I only want to warn them, the legislators, that they should go back to their constituencies to know what their constituencies want. They should not think that because it is an Ibadan issue, the other zones in the state don’t have interest in it, because the Governor has said that when he finishes with Ibadan, the next place is Ogbomosho, all those Baales will become Obas and after Ogbomosho, he will end it up in Oyo. The implication is that since the Ibadan High chiefs, kingmakers are now Obas, the Oyomesis, kingmakers in Oyo, and all associated villages heads Obas can also become Obas. If he does not do that then our point  that he does not have the right to tamper with the declaration is right. He just wants to destroy the institution of traditional rulers. The question now is that what time does he have to reflect on issues pertaining to governance ?

The  state Government  alleges that during your tenure, you attempted same  ?

It is not true. I have said it several times that I did not set up any Adio  commission. Oyo state is in the number 29 position in the country, with all the private schools in the state. If you take away the private schools, it means maybe we would have come last, after Lagos the next place where there are private schools is Oyo state. This was not the case during my time. So the institution of Ibadan Obaship is so complex, that it is better to leave them and face the job of Oyo state. After you might have put Oyo state where it is supposed to be, then you can now go back and look at it. We are not like other places, Saki has not got an Oba now, even Fiditi hasn’t got an Oba now, So what I am saying is that I did not set up the Adio commission, it is either the Governor is been mischievous or the Governor decided to be a lair himself, either of the two, because  if they are say that they cannot find the report then is Adio alive ? then if he is alive they should call him.

You said that Government is no longer respecting the law, now what is the way forward ?

You don’t get the point, the Local Government elections have not been held because their case is in court, the Council of Chief was suspended in 2011 because the case is in court,   this time around there is no case in court ? Abi ? So that is what we are saying, it is not a question of selectively taking advantage of the court, if you want to take advantage of the court, then you take the disadvantage of the court as well. Democracy is Governing by the rule of law, if the rule of law breaks down, then everybody will resort to self help, God save all of us, that is what we are saying. So it is not the question of what is the way forward. The way forward is that at the end of it the court will prevail, the court will prevail, they may delay it, they may do everything, even if you influence the local court, are you going to influence the Appeal Court, are you going to influence the Supreme court ? We are not dead, we are not  dying yet, so why should I bother about how long the case lasts, because I know that some Obas, having spent 15 years on the throne were removed. So, that is the situation. The Governor has no right or the Government has no right to interfere in the Ibadan  declaration.

The impression, is that the High Chiefs, including yourself instituted the  law suit, what made the others back out ?

Well, I don’t know because I am not one of them.  The two of them came to see me, they came on the 22nd, because they went to Government on the 21st, they asked ”What is the quarrel between you and your brother, I asked who ? They said Isiaka Ajimobi , I said no I am not quarreling with Isiaka Ajimobi, I am quarreling with the Governor and if you go to the executive’s office you will see the Governors who  have been there. Starting from Sir John Ranking up to Akala, and on the 29th of May, 2019his own photograph will join us. So, it is the Governor I am having problems with, so many people do know know how to distinguish between the Governor and the holder. Maybe they think it is a solidarity with an Ibadan boy,  but I told them the danger there, the danger there is that when my brother Alao Akala said he wanted to create only six Obaship, the whole Ibadan rose in unity and said that he cannot do it and he did not do it. But now that an Ibadan boy wants to create 50 Obas, nobody is talking. I said that so, if you keep quiet in the face of tyranny, ………And I said, you people you say you want to become Obas, have you looked into the report ? Nobody has seen the report, even though  he is  giving you the sweet part of the report, and maybe the bitter parts are still hidden. Has anybody seen the white paper ? And the only thing they published, they say recommendations, this is recommendation four, where is recommendation one to three ? recommendation four, recommendation five, recommendation eight, where is six and seven ?  Recommendation nine, the High Chiefs will retain the titles of Otun Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Balogun, Osi Balogun etc, and will not use the titles of Obas, this is what Government has published, as a prefix to their names, in order to avoid any confusion that would be caused by using the title ‘Oba ‘ in conjunction with their titles as Otun Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Balogun and Osi Balogun etc. The Government now says, the Government rejects this recommendation. You can see that the Government had a plan before they started this, they just want to use the commission to bring out what they have in them. There is recommendation 10, there is no recommendation 11, there is recommendation 12,  so, where is  where is recommendation 13 to 98 and after 99, there is 100, there 101, I don’t know whether that is the end. But where is recommendation 13 to 98 ? So, this is Government print out, not so ? So you can see that the Government is very fraudulent. There is no report, the commission’s report is not there, they didn’t tell us what it is. Secondly, the white paper is not there. They are now talking of 1959 declaration, but when they started it, it was 1957 declaration, but now it is 1959 declaration, so, you can see that they are very inconsistent, so, as I said the Governor is most of the times too busy to look into details, he just allow these people to do whatever they want to do.

Involve Ethnic Diaspora Heads in National Issues-Vice President, Ezendigbo in Diaspora(South)

Nigerians  agree  dialogue could be effective  in solving the multifaceted problems of the country, but a sizable number of Nigerians fail to adopt dialogue as a solution to the challenges that confront them on a daily basis. In this interview with Federationews2day, the Eze Ndigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state, who also doubles as the Vice President of Ezendigbo in Diaspora, Eze(Dr.)Alex Anozie urges Government to include diaspora Ethnic Heads in meetings to find solutions to the country’s problems. Excerpts :

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What are your views on the constitution of any  body, set up to discuss the country’s problems ?

I am in support of Ango Abdullahi’s idea. I read his suggestion in a national newspaper of Saturday 5th August, 2017, page 3, there he suggested that the Federal Government should invite both Northern and Southern agitating youths and their elders to a round table, where he hopes some common ground shall be reached. I seriously support the idea, but with some additions. (1) When the Federal Government is making such arrangement, they should insist that diaspora ethnic group Heads of all the states in the country should be included in that meeting. Why do I say so ? In all the meetings that have been held on this particular issue before now, nobody had ever thought it wise to bring in these ethnic group Heads, whom we all know play vital roles in the mutual interaction and unification of the country, as they are the ones living, mixing, relating on daily basis with each other in the various states of the Federation. They have become friends and this has brought about inter ethnic marriages. The diaspora ethnic Heads feel concerned for their safety and that of their property, when threats are issued, such as directing everyone to return to their ethnic regions. When the diaspora Ezendigbos and Oba Yorubas and the South South heads all from the South residing in the North alongside the Northern Ethnic heads, who also reside in the Southern part of the country, sit down in any meeting of such, it will definitely be easier to reach a compromise, that will go a long way in getting the country out of this very dangerous situation, we find ourselves. So, I support Ango Abdullahi’s idea seriously, Federal Government should go ahead to implement this suggestion, without much delay, please.

Oyo Govt. Should Thread Cautiously on Issues Pertaining To Places of Worship-Spiritual Head Shafaudeen

As religious houses in Oyo state express reservations over the state Government’s position on the environment and worship and praises to God, they insist that all power is from the Almighty God. In this interview with Federationews2day, the founder and spiritual head of Shafaudeen worldwide, Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke  cautions the  state Government to thread cautiously on issues pertaining to religion. Excerpts:

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What is your reaction to the clamp down on religious houses in the state over noise pollution, by the state Ministry of Environment  ?

I am an environmentalist, noise pollution has resulted in partial deafness of a number of people,and so we must try as much as possible to control the noise. But when you regard what comes out of the houses of God as noise, are we not insulting God ? We have to be very careful in the way we use words. It is true that some people have deviated from  the course of real evangelism, of the real  dawah or jihad. The real evangelism or dawah demands that we speak the truth, we have a target audience, we must do things in ways that must not encourage unnecessary noise pollution, because whatever you’re saying becomes a noise, when you are no more communicating. So Government got it wrong in declaring that what comes out of the church or mosque is noise, this is an insult to divinity. They would  have  gone  there to correct the practice. Take for example, there was a time that I was treating some verses in both the Bible and the Quran that deals with family cohesion and family surprises, despite the fact that the song happened to be from a Muslim base, most Christians and some other faiths, came to me that I should allow the voice to get to their doors because what I was treating, regarding how to discourage people calling their mothers witches and even if they are witches, the position of the scriptures on this and how to manage such crisis. So, because it was more of teaching, it was problem solving, people loved to hear it, even if it was coming as music, it was supposed to be devoid of hate speeches, must be constructive and suiting. So, all these are lacking in the way we manage Churches and Mosques these days. So, the root of all these ought to be treated, because Churches and Mosques ought to be the divine environment for sustainable development of any community or nation. But in a situation whereby we begin to insult the senses and sensibilities of Pastors and Imams, by generalizing that what comes out of the houses of God constitute noise, is unfortunate.  We cannot compare our country with the developed nations, where their culture does not revolve on religion, but with time they discovered that they were having a lot of problems, which their Psychologists and Sociologists could not manage. They now resorted to faith based solutions. And out there the culture is more of individualism. Here in Africa or Yorubaland, we keep extended family structure, here we are our brother’s keeper. No doubt Government needs to intervene, but this is not the way to go about it. They are supposed to help us to control and normalize things. Most of us are not Teachers, we only find ourselves holding the Bible or the Quran to teach people, so we don’t expect expertise. But if they would be structure with guidelines, mainly that nay teaching from the mosques or churches must be based on the scriptures and must not be abusive. It must contain messages on morals and discipline, and if it is music, it has to be constructive and designed to solve problems. But declaring houses of God places of noise ? It is very insulting. We need to rethink the agenda, we have to be very careful, because I don’t want the case of this Government or nay Government, that wants to correct the situation to be like that of the beggars’ strike, a book written,  here most of them consulted their Alfas before they got to power, just like it happened in one nation. The beggars, you use them to get to the position of power, and because you want the city or community to be clean, you now say that they are dirty, and you move them somewhere, by the time such an individual starts having problems, the oracle consult, direct him to return to the beggars with gifts. The beggars reject the gifts, so his prayers are not answered and in the process he dies. So, we have to be very careful. Those in power still consult these houses of God. So, there is a need for us to restructure things in the houses of God. We must be scripture compliant in everything we do.

 

 

One Per cent Levy in Oyo Schools : Nigerians Are Suspicious of Govt.’s Intention-Prof Olagoke

Parents and residents at  the location of one of the Models  schools have expressed worries over the unbecoming  behavior of students of the school, who daily patronize cybercafes within the vicinity of the school, during school hours, in preference to the academic comfort of their school. This is a reflection of the incompetence  of the school management and Teachers to impart the right values on the students. Even as mushroom private schools continue to spring up in room and parlor and three  Bedroom apartments at different locations in t Oyo state, parents  also expressing worries over the announcement by the  state  Government that beginning from next session,  one(1) per cent levy shall be imposed on the fees collected  by both Public and Private schools in the state, they insist that this amounts to double taxation. In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder and Spiritual Head of Shafaudeen worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke advises the state Government to approach the levy with caution. Excerpts :

The Oyo state Government has announced its intention to collect 1 per cent from all the fees collected by both public and private secondary schools in the state,  what is your reaction to this announcement  ?

My opinion is that the Government of Oyo state is ready to  re fix to a rightful position the education status, most especially in Oyo state. Government itself realizes that there are problems in the educational structure and practices The problem manifest in the state of things in public schools, most of them have dilapidated buildings, some do not have  furniture. Public schools have the best Teachers, but there are no facilities to work with. Unfortunately, those in Government and the elites do not patronize the  public schools. When Chief Obafemi Awolowo started his education programme, , he ensured that all his children attended these schools, and through each of them he was able to feel the pulse of the public schools, as regards the state of things in these schools. Unfortunately, Government, presently, has all the structure and mechanism through which education facilitation can  be effective and  result oriented, but corruption and indiscipline have permeated the fabric of every unit of the system, so that even before  a file is moved, you must grease the palm of the clerk, before anybody is promoted you must have greased the palms of the powers that be along the line When it comes to pension some people insist on getting 10 per cent out of your gratuity, before your file will see the light of the day.  So, when you have this kind of erratic system, the goal of education is already defeated. So, that is the situation of things in the education sector in Nigeria, Oyo state in particular.

The lapses on the side of Government has made every Tom, Dick and Harry to venture into education, but with the perspective of becoming an entrepreneur, whereby you commercialize everything. When  I was in secondary school, my prorietor of blessed memory, Mr. T.A Ogunkoya, had B.A History form Newcastle in 1950, he single handedly left Isonyin, for Abanla, bought acres of land and built all the structure in the school and unfortunately in 1976, Government took it  over and bastardized the very good work the man had done. The place is now a caricature of its old self. This is to say that Government  has not been able to understand what it takes to follow Chie Awolowo’s legacy. Now a lot of people have ventured into education without knowing anything about it.  You see a lot of private schools in dilapidated buildings and these people are capitalizing on the fact that most of our people are illiterates, most of the parents. They only repackage these children with good clothing, so that the parents will believe  that their children are attending good schools, whereas most of these schools are mushroom. And now that Government is restructuring, all these things are more of theories, because since they have started, we have not felt the impact. Not all the private schools are  registered with the state Government. And indeed, Government officials pass by all these  schools, but because of their relationships with the owners, nothing is done.  These are the areas that we are having problems. So, the first thing Government ought to do, is to go through all the nooks and crannies of Oyo state in the Morning, Afternoon, Night and during the weekend, to identify all these schools, good or bad. After assessment those found wanting should be shut. So in the area of Government collecting one per cent of fees collected by public and private schools in the state, those that are registered and Government still says that whatever you are getting from the intakes, one per cent should go into the coffers of Government, then this is unfortunate, Government is supposed to encourage private individuals, who float private schools,  so long as their intentions are genuine and once they have the right concept on ground, not vice versa.

However,Government must have looked into another perspective, Government must have the belief that all privately owned schools are for commercial purposes and once you are running schools for commercial purposes, the goal of education has already been defeated, because you won’t be able to deliver. You will be more into what you will realize in terms  of gains or profits. Education and schools are not supposed to be commercial ventures. UNICEF says education is a right. Chief Awolowo promoted free education, now that the various tiers of Government in Nigeria have failed in giving us free education and corruption  has now permeated the whole system, the major problem we are now having is  what is to be done. Government should be very cautious. Although some schools were founded on the premise that their founders have been able to corruptly enrich themselves and now using the money for education, if that is the perspective of Government to collect one per cent , it is okay, they want them to at least pay back, but some of us have genuine intentions. They should firstly go into how much we collect as school fees, then some of us may even be assisted by Government, but for those of us who they might be suspecting  have corruptly enriched  themselves, the one per cent can apply. But if it should be generalized, there is nothing we can do, but to seek to know what Government has been doing  from all the money collected. So, the people are suspicious of Government’s intentions and they think it is another way of selfishly enriching the purse of some Government functionaries. So, they must not allow the society to think that there is a bad motive behind the intention of Government to collect one per cent from the fees of  public and privates  schools. Government should be able to justify what they are going to do with the money, so, they must have a rethink.

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Any Government that is not performing should be voted out of power-Igbo Leader

Nigerians have a lot to worry about, hunger, poverty and insecurity  are  just some of the  problems in the land. Even though there is a Government in place, the problems seems to have overwhelmed those in charge. In this interview with Federationews2day, Igbo leader and Onyendu Ndigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state , High Chief Alloy Okwudili Obi declares that  any Government that does not perform should be voted out of power. Excerpts :

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What are your views on the state of the nation ?

The present situation in the country is  something to make  every citizen worry. Government know there are problems with the economy. Things are not going on well in the country in terms of business, in terms of employment and in terms of the safety of  lives and property, especially in the North East Geo-political zone.

I am so worried about the rate at which people are been killed on a daily basis. I sympathize with the people of Borno state, even animals are not killed that way. This should be a source of worry for all Nigerians. God should intervene in this situation. Even the security agencies are also losing personnel on a daily basis.  I passionately appeal to the insurgents to lay down their arms and tow the line of dialogue. However, as an upright man I don’t believe  in negotiating with criminals, but the situation is worrisome.

The Federal Government should decisively address this issue of insecurity, most especially the atrocities been committed by Fulani herdsmen in the country.  It is very strange to hear of herdsmen going about with sophisticated rifles. It is strange. Nigerians should return to God, the atrocities are just too much. Evil men and women  are everywhere. Government  has no option but to address the high unemployment rate. The number of people who are exploring ways of making money through illegitimate means is on the increase, this is very bad, therefore I call on Nigerians  to have a rethink.

Are you comfortable with situation of the Nigeria Police Force ?

The Police need funds and more hands. Without money they cannot fight crime effectively. If the Police is well funded then they will be active, but such funds should be used for the purpose it is meant for. In these era of insecurity, recruiting more personnel  is necessary. The number of Policemen fighting crime in the country is not enough. So many things are wrong in the country, Government should take urgent steps to address the problems in all sectors, to avoid  unpleasant situations. Nigerians can no longer sleep with their two eyes  closed. Security agents are not  spirits, they cannot be everywhere, corruption led to the present state of things in the country. These days people no longer take the Government serious. Why will they, when the Minister of Finance made two contradictory statements of the borrowing plan of the Government. It is now very difficult to convince the people that all is  well. It is high time Government puts its house in order. The 2015 general elections has proved  that power of incumbency no longer exists,  we are  less than two years to the next general elections. Any Government that is not performing should be voted out of power.

 

 

 

Our Members are Still Been Paid Percentage Salaries in Universities-National Vice President SSANU

Workers in Nigerian universities have a tale or two to tell those interested in listening. They are not happy, their unhappiness revolves on the nonchalant attitude of the managements of universities towards issues concerning salaries and welfare of workers. In this interview with Federationews2day, the National Vice President, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU)Western zone, Comrade Alfred Ilesanmi Jimoh says that all is not well with senior  staff of  Universities in the South West and other parts of the country. Excerpts :

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How have Senior Staff in Universities in the South West Geo-Political zone of the country fared in recent times ?

I must say that the state of affairs has not changed significantly, a good number of universities  in the South west and even nation wide too, are still been paid percentage salaries. Even though that we heard that the Federal Government, particularly,  has released the outstanding shortfall  owed universities. But unfortunately some Vice Chancellors have been very economical with the   truth, they have not reflected this development in the salaries of the staff.

Talking about SSANU in the Western zone,  the very sore point that we are having now, which is making our hearts to ache and bleed, is the case of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH)Ogbomosho, as a union leader I feel pained that two Yoruba states been governed by the All Progressives Congress are saying that they cannot fund LAUTECH, and LAUTECH is gradually left to die a natural death. It is giving us very serious concern and headache, that things can be like that. In a situation where we have states in the North that do not have the kind of resources, the kind of Internally Generated Revenue(IGR), that do not have the kind of exposure that we have in the Western  part of the country, are sponsoring and funding their own universities, Oyo and Osun states are saying that they cannot fund LAUTECH, as a result students are languishing, staff are not paid salaries for between 8 to 9 months. They are now begging to offset the outstanding bills in LAUTECH, it is painful.

On this note, we in SSANU want to join our voice to the voices of Nigerians who are calling on the Federal Government to take over LAUTECH and give LAUTECH  a bail out. As a matter of fact the Federal Government should totally take over LAUTECH, the Federal Government should give LAUTECH a bail out, a bail out, specifically for LAUTECH is imperative. I also want to call on the OODUA owner states to take interest in the university, if the Federal Government will not take it over. And let all of them put hands together to fund  LAUTECH, because LAUTECH is a veritable institution, it was once the best university in Nigeria. Generally things have not improved much among SSANU members in the Western zone and nationwide.

Another sore point is the issue of University staff schools, Primary schools, it is also painful that over  six months after  SSANU got a  National Industrial Court Judgment in its favour, the Government has  failed to implement it. Worse still, a Minister whose office  was created by law, pretended that he is not aware of the  Judgment, and went ahead to issue a circular, stating that no Vice Chancellor should include the names of University Staff School Teachers in the budget of 2018. And that anybody that does that will be considered as willfully including the names of ghost workers in the budget. This is painful to us in SSANU and nobody in government has spoken about it. The Attorney General of the Federation, who I am aware has been served with  the Judgment, the Minister of Labour, who also has been served with the Judgment,  saw that circular and has not said anything about it. The Minister of Education saw the circular and  has not said anything about it. The executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, probably, has seen that circular and he has not done anything about it. And our members who were sent out of the staff schools are languishing, they are still been paid half salaries, their names are not back on the payroll of the universities, despite the Judgment. And this is Democracy, where the rule of law is held in high esteem. All of this put together is making SSANU, particularly in the  Western zone very unhappy. We call on stakeholders  within the university system and people in government who are concerned with all these issues that we have raised, to, please use their good offices to do the needful, so that SSANU, Western zone and  SSANU nationwide can be very very happy with the Government and the system can move forward.

I Remain Head of Igbos in Ibadan and Oyo state-Eze(Dr.)Anozie

Recently, a group, Concerned Igbos in Oyo state,  alleged that it was against the principles of the rule of law and due process for a party to  the Igbo leadership tussle in Oyo state to continue parading  himself as the head of Igbos in the state, when the matter has moved from the state High Court to the Appeal court, Ibadan Division. In this interview with Federationews2day, a party to the matter, Eze(Dr.)Alex Anozie throws more light into the contentious issue, while advising Nigerians to be law abiding by respecting court judgment

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Are you aware of any appeal against the Judgement of an Oyo state High Court, which affirmed you as the Head of Igbos ?

First and foremost, I am Eze(Dr.) Alex Anozie, the Eze Ndigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state and the Vice President Eze Ndigbo in Diaspora(South)  who was democratically elected Head of Igbos by Igbos in Ibadan and Oyo state, since 1997. On the issue of appeal, I am aware of it, but did they mention what that judgement stated  ?  That judgment stated that I am the only  head, leader of Igbos, call it whatever name, Onyendu, Ezendigbo or whatever, that I am the one, head of Igbos in Ibadan and Oyo state. The court asked the other person who was challenging me, to stop parading  himself as such, and up to this moment I am talking to you, no superior court has vacated that judgement. And as far as we know and we are law abiding citizens of Nigeria, the  judgment was given by a court of  competent  jurisdiction, and that judgment or ruling has not been vacated by any superior court, that judgment or ruling stands to be obeyed by every  law abiding citizen of the country. So, they went on appeal, about a month after the judgment, they went and slotted a notice of appeal, but the case is still in the Appeal court and the Appeal court has not vacated the judgment of that High court, neither did they succeed in getting any stay of execution against that particular judgment. Therefore, you must agree with me that all and sundry must obey that judgment, until any superior court  will ever vacate it,  by the special grace of God, I know that no superior court will vacate it, because truth will always  remain truth, no matter how much anybody try to bend it.

So, what is your position on the  Igbo leadership issue in Oyo state?

My position on the issue is that I am the one there, my people have said it, God first said it, my  people said it and the High court of competent jurisdiction confirmed it. And that is it,  I have been serving my people joyfully, my people are happy, the law abiding ones are happy, people who believe in the rule of law, people who believe in due process are happy about it, but people who do not believe in due process, people who think that unless they say it, it can never be, those people are not happy.  We have no apologies.

Are you aware of  the existence of the  group named, Concerned Igbos in Oyo  state ?

I am not aware of any such group in existence. I am sure that it is still the same group of people, who were defeated in the High court, that are coming up again, but as far as I know and as far as the Igbos in Oyo state are concerned, we are not aware of any  group called Concerned Igbos or whatever, we are not aware. And anything that concerns the Igbos in Oyo state, if I am not aware of it, Igbos  in Oyo state can claim that they are not aware of it. As far as God has said that I am the leader of Igbos in Oyo state, my people have said it and the court has also  said it, there is nothing left to argue about again.

 

33 Local Governments in Oyo are Comatose-NULGE

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A few days ago, Teachers in Oyo state under the umbrella of the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT)Oyo state council organized a rally to oppose the clamor for Local Government autonomy in the country.  In this interview with Federationews2day, the President of the  state branch of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE), who also double as the Vice Chairman of the state council of the  Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) Comrade Bayo Titilola-Sodo speaks on this and the current situation of things in Local Governments in the state. Excerpts :

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Workers in the 33 Local Governments of Oyo state have expressed worry over the  non payment of their salary arrears, they blame this on the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the executive of  the state branch of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE) and the state Government on percentage salaries. What is your reaction ?

There is no time that the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees has entered into a separate agreement with  since we came on board The agreement that has covered us up to date, is the agreement with the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joint Negotiating Council and the Trade Union Congress, signed.  We are under the umbrella of the NLC, so whatever agreement the NLC signs covers us. I am the Vice Chairman of the NLC  in the state. So the labour movement in Oyo state signed this agreement with government and it is expressly stated that we would not take percentage payments, it is expressly stated that we would always take full salaries, it is expressly stated that where there is no sufficient funds, they should start paying from levels  on e, and will come up when the next payments comes and will go up and up like that until a month’s salaries are fully paid, rather than paying percentages  in any month for that matter.  But unfortunately, some of these Local Governments in collaboration with some of the people now complaining, we are going against the content of the two agreements, so they w ere colluding to pay themselves percentage  salaries. Where I work, which is Ibarapa Central Local Government, we have never paid  percentage salaries, we’ve always maintained, where there is insufficient funds, to start from level one, maybe to stop at level 7,  wherever the funds gets to, and when the next  funds come we pay the topmost levels. But where the funds are sufficient, we just pay everyone a full month’s salary at once, which is the case in the last two months. So, there is no time NULGE or the umbrella  under which NULGE operates, the NLC entered into any  agreement with government to pay percentage salaries.

The state Government is laying off  Local Government workers who have questionable certificates, what is NULGE doing about this ?

The exercise started last year with the verification of the WAEC and NECO certificates of workers,  and the Government came out with thousands of names alleging their certificates  to be fake or forged,  came out with the list and dismissed such staff  summarily an insisted that each staff should approach the court individually. And labour  took the matter up and a committee was set up,  my humble self is the chairman, up till today the committee still sits and we requested every member of staff,  sure of the authenticity  of their certificates to come before the committee, we collected their names, made our own, made our own independent investigation and requested  them to verify from the examination body and write a letter to the Head of Service and I can assure you that over 80 per cent of those people that came before us, have been reinstated, that action has  shown that the government has  reversed from its former position that the people should go to the courts to seek justice, secondly it is implied that the consultant is incompetent to carry out the job, because the letters from the examination bodies, authenticating these certificates were again passed to the same consultant, who now agreed that it was a mistake and that the certificates were genuine, that shows incompetence, it show that  he does not know his onions, it shows he did not do a thorough job and therefore on that ground the government should have decommissioned that consultant, the consultant should have been relieved of that assignment and if the government is still interested in continuing with the verification, to appoint a more competent consultant who will do a more thorough job, but unfortunately, the government continues to use these consultants, who does shoddy assignment and that has led to the issue of the Trade Test Certificates. NULGE has requested all their members affected by this issue to go the way we handled the earlier matter, bring their matters before us at NULGE office and it would be taken up. But as we speak,   no member off staff, none of them has been served a letter to that effect, but we have heard, we even heard that some names were pasted on the notice board, but you don’t relieve people of their jobs through notice boards, you write them individual letters terminating their appointments on whatever grounds.

Teachers in Oyo state have held a rally to protest against Local Government autonomy, what is the position of NULGE ?

Unfortunately, I waited  and waited for a rebuttal or a refutal of that story by the relevant  that is the NUT and its leadership and I have not seen any, therefore it is safe to believe that indeed their rally was against Local Government autonomy, I think their rally was misdirected, the issue of Local Government, what is their reason ? They claim that  when the payment of salaries  of Teachers was put under the administration of Local Governments about 25 years ago they suffered a lot of hardships, that was 25 years ago and the issue of Local Government autonomy transcends  matter of salary payments. I want them to know that  their salaries been paid by SUBEB, is from Local Government funds, through the Joint Account Allocation Committee(JAAC), if they now know this, why are they trying to misinform the public that their salaries should not be put under Local Government administration. There is no Local Government that insists on taking up the responsibility of the payment of Teachers salaries, in fact the constitution provides that we should participate in Primary education, and if we should participate, why is that the total salaries of Teachers is now been paid with Local Government funds, with the state contributing nothing, so we would like to state that the payment of their salaries should taken up by the state, so that we can participate and determine the percentage of participation, however they are saying no to Local Government autonomy is incredible because the matter of  Local Government autonomy is about development in Nigeria, it is about development at the grass roots, it is about service delivery at the third tier of government, which is the tier of government closest  to the people,  which is the tier of government easily accessible to the people. How many citizens of any state can work into the Governors office ? How many citizens of any state can work into the Commissioner’s office ? But the Chairman’s office  is freely accessible in all Local Governments, you know his Father’s house, you know his house, you know wives, you know his children, you know his relations, you know where to report him and you can mobilize yourselves to go to his office to lay down your facts, our roads require grading, we require culverts,  we require bridges, we want schools built , it is Local Governments that can provide all these services.  As we speak now in Oyo state all Local Governments are comatose, they have not been able to discharge their functions to the people, they cannot render the dividends of Democracy, which they all promised us, why ? , because there is paucity of funds, their funds is being cornered somewhere before getting to the Local Governments and therefore the Local Governments cannot grade roads, they cannot provide and  a number of these Teachers who have cars can no longer drive to the front of their houses, because Local Governments can no longer grade roads.  So, I don’t know the correlation between Local Government autonomy and the payment of Teachers salaries and why they think that Nigeria should not develop, they are in tandem with the idea that the public funds should be continue to be mismanaged, diverted and stolen, under the guise of paying their salaries, this clearly shows to me, that the leadership of the NUT has been collaborating to divert, mismanage and steal  Local Government funds in Nigeria, because the instrument, through which Teachers salaries are paid, SUBEB, is manned by retired Teachers, you cannot be the chairman of SUBEB, if you are not a Teacher, you cannot be a full time or part time commissioner of SUBEB, if you are not a Teacher, you cannot even be a Permanent Secretary or Executive secretary in SUBEB, if you are not a Teacher, it means they don’t want that route through which they have been collaborating to steal Local Government money to be blocked, that  is why they are not just talking about their salaries, but they are kicking against Local Government autonomy. What are the components of Local Government autonomy that we are clamoring for, one is political autonomy, you can see that in Oyo state elections have not been held in Local Governments in  Oyo state for 10 years, when you don’t elect people, who is now representing the interests of the electorate,  of the citizenry and of that constituency. Is it the kind of person they want to govern them that is governing them  ? Even when elections are held at all, the party in power at the state level clear all the seats, the chairmanship seats including all the councillorship seats, in Oyo state we  should have 33  chairmen and at least 330 councillorship seats. They will claim that the Government at the state level has won all those wards and Local Governments which is impossible, we know that does not reflect the true position of things are the grass roots. They should scrap state Independent Electoral Commissions, let the Independent National Electoral Commission conduct the elections, that will be free and fair and reflect  the true position of things at that level. Secondly , we are talking about financial autonomy, with financial autonomy, the Local Government funds would come to them directly, and you can now hold them responsible, even if the payment of Teachers salaries, remains their responsibility. In 1992/93, there were no EFCC, no ICPC, there are now several anti-graft bodies and the chairmen and Councillors don’t have immunity,  it is the Governors who have immunity, if any chairman should mismanage or divert, it is just one month he would do it, and he would be reported right here in Oyo state, we have an EFCC in Iyaganku, here in Ibadan, so he would be reported to the EFCC, these organizations were not available 25 years ago, when they claimed to have been shortchanged. Therefore, we should be building institutions that would be in the interest of Democracy in  Nigeria, that would be in the interest of the citizenry of Nigeria. Institutions that would ensure at the grassroots and ultimately across the length and breath of our country, Nigeria. Thirdly, we are also talking of administrative autonomy, these Chairmen and Councillors when they are elected, at least in Oyo state where I reside, I know   the spending  limits of the Chairman, his Vice and 10 Councillors , 12 elected people, their spending limits, is N500,000 since 1991, can you imagine a project  you could  carry out with N500,000 when the cost of a fairly used car was N30,000, so what you can ow do with N500,000, when there is no fairly used car that you can get for N500,000. But it has remained static that way, is that Democracy ?  Are those people been held accountable for their funds, someone else is managing the funds, they are just there as figure heads, whereas there spending limits is N500,000, someone who is now appointed, who was not elected by anybody would have an approving limit of N5 million, is  that fair  ? is that just ? is that Democracy ? is that accountability ? Therefore we clamor for administrative autonomy, let them be able to decide, they are the representatives of their people, let them be able to decide, that  it is on this project we want to expend our resources, we want to build bridges, we want to classrooms, if need be, we want to build markets if need be, and they should not be constrained by someone who sleeps in an air condition  office hundreds of kilometers away, who has never been to that locality, who does not know their needs in that locality, to take the decisions on their behalf, these are the things we seek for and we know that they are admirable things to seek for, for Nigerians, our situation is in tandem, and we have taken  up the gauntlet, because there is no one to speak for the ordinary Nigerians,  the ordinary Nigerians reside in the Local Governments, they know us, because we  work closely with the, we know where the shoes pinches and we have taken up this responsibility on their behalf and we believe that this time we shall not fail , we shall succeed, because that is what is the best interest  of Nigerians.

 

 

 

The only thing Igbos hate about Nigeria is Injustice, Corruption and Killings-Vice President Ezendigbo in Diaspora(South)

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Recently, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,  warned  that all those fanning the embers of disunity in Nigeria would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land. The Acting President’s statement has attracted reactions from several Nigerians cutting across ethnic divides. Eze Dr. Alex  Anozie, the Ezendigbo nala Ibadan and Oyo state, who also doubles as the Vice President, Ezendigbo in Diaspora(South) has  joined  the growing list of Nigerians who have reacted to prof Osinbajo’s statement. In this interview with Federationews2day, Eze Dr. Anozie insists that the Igbos,  who are the first among the tribes that love Nigeria most, would  be ready to live in a united Nigeria  devoid of injustice,  corruption and killings . Excerpts :

The Acting President has stated that those  found to be threatening innocent Nigerians and sponsoring disunity would be dealt with by security agencies. What is your reaction to this statement ?

It is a good initiative, the Acting President is doing very well, God has bestowed him with wisdom. This issue is very fragile, delicate and sensitive and it must be handled very cautiously.  I praise him for that courage he has, in coming out bold in making that statement. Be that as it may, I still want to say  that the truth is bitter, but let all of us be bold to say the truth. All these agitations coming up from different parts of the country, there are reasons for it, injustice, deceit, corruption and killings, here and there, lives and property are no longer secure, militancy here and there, kidnapping here and there. Igbo people think that if they are on their own,  they might be able to arrange things, the way it would be more suitable for them and they would live in peace, lives and property would be secure. The crime rate would  reduce, they are thinking that, may be, in their own separate entity,  they would be able to manage all these areas and live in peace.  They may be wrong and they may be right. Igbos are the section of the country  that love Nigeria more than every other tribal grouping in Nigeria. And that is why they are investing everywhere they find themselves. Igbos are all over the country. This is a straightforward statement, that Igbos have confidence in Nigeria and that Igbos love Nigeria. If they do not love Nigeria, if they are  not committed to one Nigeria, they would not have been investing. There is no other  tribe that is scattered all over the country, like the Igbos, there is no other tribe that is investing all over the country, like the Igbos.  In the North, Igbos’ properties are in trillions, in the South West, Igbos’ properties are in trillions. If they do not have confidence in Nigeria would they have been investing in that manner ? They would have been going to the South East to invest. So, that is the number one reason why everybody should be able to agree with the Igbos,  that they love Nigeria. The only thing Igbos hate about Nigeria is injustice, marginalization, lack of equity, corruption and killings, life has lost value completely in Nigeria. Human beings are killed like  mosquitoes everywhere and the Igbos have much value  for life.  There is no hope that there would be a  stop to these happenings, the Igbos are not happy about this.  The Igbos are desperately in need of peace and security.  If they  are assured today, that all these social vices, all over the place would stop, Igbos are very willing and ready to continue with one Nigeria.  Yes, injustice must stop, indiscriminate killings of  human being must stop. The 2014 national conference started and ended with an agreement reached  by Nigerians. Now, the Government has  refused to make use of the report  of the conference Why ? After the conference, a section of the country came out to say that they do not believe in the conference. This was exactly the same thing that happened before the civil war. It was one of the things that resulted in the civil war.  Before the civil war, agreement   was reached and signed, at Aburi in Ghana, by the representatives of both sides. But surprisingly, when they got back home,in Nigeria after 48 hours, the agreement was swept under the carpet. Had it been the Aburi agreement was implemented, we would not have fought the civil war and several lives would not have been lost on both sides. The same issue has been given another name, restructuring. Everyone is now  talking of restructuring. For how long shall we continue to deceive each other ? Is it not better we tell each other the  bitter truth ?  Had it been justice had been reigning in Nigeria, had it been fair play, truth,  equity and the fear of God had been in place in Nigeria, there would not be need for all these agitations everywhere. Nobody wants to leave Nigeria, Nigeria is a beautiful country, no doubt about that, there is strength in our diversity, no doubt about that, but the truth is that injustice with impunity is in this country, but if the Igbos are  assured that all these vices would be no more, I am sure they would have a change of mind.