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.

Some of Our Members Possess Fake Cerificates-Oyo TUC Chairman

Trade unions in Oyo state will not be able to defend will not be able to defend their members with fake certificates.

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This declaration was made by the Chairman  Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, who doubles as the Chairman of the state council of the Trade Union Congress(TUC)Comrade Olusola Ogundiran, in a chat with Federationews2day in Ibadan, Nigeria.

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”Any worker  who is been owed salaries has the right to agitate and feel uncomfortable, and with that if information is not adequate, it gives room for insinuations. But what I want to tell our workers is that since the screening began we have not kept quiet and we know and we also agree that we cannot stop  our employer from  determining the quality and quantity of the workers it needs. So, with that in mind, we actually tag along with the Government to screen and, unfortunately some of our members did not allow us to fight this case straightforward because in actual fact and truthfully, some of our members possess fake certificates, with which they gained employment”.

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”We have met Government and the Government has agreed that once an individual knows that he or she was wrongfully alleged, one can vilify one’s self, by approaching the institution  that warded the certificate and explaining to them that the certificate issued has been alleged to be forged. So once the institution clears this, all well and good. A  lot of them have been let off the hook and have been reintegrated back into the payroll of the state Government”.

”Be that as it may, some also possess fake certificates which we cannot vouch for and that is a dent on the image of the workers of the state and that one has actually not given us the voice to accuse the Government on if the exercise is a witch hunt or delay tactics. But I want to correct one impression, the screening exercise that is going on, although it has taken long, is not a lay off exercise, it is a screening exercise”.

Comrade Ogundiran also disclosed that the state Government was still expecting allocation from Abuja that was why it was yet to pay salaries up to May. ”I can tell you that had it been  the additional funds been expected from Abuja has come, the state Government has shown its readiness and willingness to defray the salary arrears up till May, but unfortunately, that has not been. So, as at now we are still expecting salaries for the month of March it should have been done too, but we were rightly briefed that the Honorable Commissioner for Finance was a little bit indisposed, so the approval of the salaries is yet to come  from Mr. Governor, but hopefully before the week runs out workers will begin to receive alert for the month of March”, he concluded.

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 peaks 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.

 

 

Oyo Workers Hopeful That Govt Will Soon Pay Their Salaries Up To May

Workers in Oyo state have  expressed hopes that the state Government will soon pay their salaries up to May, 2017.

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The workers made this known while narrating the difficulties they were presently experiencing to Federationews2day.

They stressed that since the state Government would soon receive another tranche of the Paris Club Refund, there was no reason why it would not be able to offset salary arrears of workers in the state up to the month of May.

However, the state  Chairman of  the Trade Union Congress(TUC), who also doubles as the Chairman Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, maintained that the  hopes expressed by the workers would however depend on the amount of money received from the Government at the centre.

”The  Government is favourably disposed to even paying up to May, if what they are expecting from Abuja really materializes. The true position of things is that workers in Oyo state, especially those in the state service, have received their salaries up to and including the month of February, 2017. We are awaiting the payment for the month of March, 2017. As at yesterday, the Ministry of Finance said that they are ready, that they are just awaiting figures from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, that they would be ready to pay March”, Comrade Ogundiran stated.

He blamed the salary problems of Local Government workers in the state, to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by their union leaders on the issue of percentage payment of salaries, saying ”the Local Government workers, I think they caused that for themselves, so, by the time we found out and by the time we wanted to wade in, majority of their Ogas, they will say they are not owing them salaries, for somebody you pay 25 per cent, you say you are not owing salaries, while workers at the state level insisted on the Government paying all or paying nothing”.

Comrade Ogundiran called on workers in the state to be more patient, while the union addressed all the issues concerning salary payments, saying ”we know the common enemy we have is the employer, we know that the employer that is not conscientious and God fearing may not want to pay,but the ones that are  conscientious and God fearing  will want to pay the workers their dues”.

 

 

No Sign That Oyo Govt Is Ready to Pay Backlog of Salary Arrears-Chairman Senior Civil Servants

Senior Civil Servants in Oyo state have lamented the  nonchalant attitude of the Oyo state Government  to issues concerning their salary arrears, allowances, gratuities and pensions.

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The civil servants made  their position known through the Chairman of the state chapter Association of Civil Servants, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a chat with Federationews2day in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Comrade Emelieze, who is the immediate past chairman of the  state council of the Trade Union Congress(TUC) expressed reservations over the mounting debt owed workers by the state  Government, without any sign that same would be paid  very soon.

”So far so good, the situation has remained the same, it is still the  same old story of   backlog of arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities for workers all over the state  , working  with government, whether at the state or Local Government level, salaries are been owed now, for four to five months, as regards the state workers, they are yet to collect their March salaries, despite the fact that the Governor has  gone on air to say that he has paid March salaries, which of course he  has not paid and the situation is so critical that those at the Local Government, whose salaries used to be regular, we wouldn’t know what happened, but their situation is even now  worse than those  working at the state level, at the, some are being owed six months, while some are being owed eight months”.

”We have discovered that nothing has  changed, it is as if the Oyo state Government, is waiting for, probably workers to take action., before they can act, because  we have not seen anything extraordinary done by the Oyo state Government, we are just waiting for probably miracle to happen,  before they can pay. Miracle in the sense that for a responsible Government, in situations like this, we should expect initiatives, such as we can see robust master plan proposals and actions been taken to see how funds can be generated, Paris club refunds have been coming, there have been bail outs, I think that is only what they have been depending on to come, besides that we’ve not seen anything concrete been done and this has been recurring in the past two years”.

”For a serious Government within the past two years, they would have been able to come out of this, last  year they were owing,  two years ago they were owing, this year they are  still owing, we wouldn’t know when they would pay, so we are  really not happy, workers are getting more frustrated, same as all over the country, here in Oyo state workers are now contemplating suicide, people have lost hope in the system, people have lost hope  in the Government. The way it is now, nobody will tell any worker  what to do, they have known that they have to take  their destinies in their hands, the system has failed us, the APC Government has  failed us. President Buhari and his Governors have failed us”, Comrade Emelieze concluded.

Minimum Wage-Govt. Is Deceiving Workers-Oyo Labour Union Leader

Nigerians at home an abroad  are presently confronted with how to make ends meet. In both the public and private sectors, employers of labour are not ready to review remuneration and working conditions of their  employees, even though the hardships brought about by the economic recession are not abating.

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In the light of this Nigerians are speaking out, Comrade Andrew Emlieze is the immediate past Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC)in Oyo state and also the current Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria in the state. In this interview with Federationews2day, Comrade Emelieze speaks on the national minimum wage. Excerpts

Do you think Government is  ready to review the N18,000 minimum wage ?

It is  horrible, it is pathetic, it is equally regrettable, that over the years there have been negotiations, there have been agreements, that five years after, there will be a review of the national minimum wage. Currently what an average Nigerian worker, whether you are a manipulative or a managerial staff is N18,000 minimum wage and we can see what the economy is saying, despite that, there has not been any attempt by Government to see what they can do, to help the workers come out of this  their  horrible plight. The last time a review was done was in  2007. Regrettably, the recent pronouncement by Government, coming out of the Minister of Labour, that Government cannot pay N56,000, that has been demanded by the central labour unions in Nigeria, that is the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and the Trade Union Congress(TUC), They have said that they cannot pay it, we don’t expect such a reckless statement from the Nigerian Government, they said it, it is quite unfortunate, it is regrettable and it is such that they are challenging the sensibilities of not just the Labour centres and the Industrial  unions, but the sensibilities of the Nigerian worker

Of course, what is more annoying, is that , if Government is saying that they cannot pay N56,000 minmimum wage, if that Government is sincere, they should be able to tell us this is what we can pay, if they’ve not made such pronouncement, that means the Government is deceiving us.

Nigerians Seek Justice, Workers Want Their Salaries.

For several years now, innocent Nigerians  have been unable to  successfully seek redress in the courts of law in the land.

Many factors are responsible for this unfortunate situation, among which are haphazard investigations by law enforcement agents, who are ordinarily ill equipped for their functions and the unabating inducement of those  in the Judiciary-the junior staff, in this instance.

Men and women, soliciting for customers for sworn affidavits and other court processes are common sight, outside the court premises. This is in with the knowledge of court staff.

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Presently, a sizable number of  citizens, ignore the courts, which is regarded as a last resort of the common man, because they believe they cannot get justice.

Indeed, Government at all levels have converted the Judicial arm  as a tool to oppress, suppress, and cow those with contrary views to submission.

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We are Ahead of Others, in Terms of Salaries and Allowances -JUSUN

But the Chairman of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria(JUSUN) Oyo state council, Kayode Martins insists that the state Government has not disappointed the Judiciary, in terms of salary payments.

”As regards salaries, the last payments of the Oyo state Government to the purse of the Oyo state Judiciary was for October and November 2016, subvention. Meanwhile we have collected December salaries. When we came on board, we made sure the promotion for  2015 was released and we have approached the management for that of 2016. As we are talking, all the outstanding leave  bonus, claims and allowances have been paid. When we came on board, we agitated for dress allowance and that of 2015 and 2016 was paid. And some weeks ago, we collected that of 2016. In Oyo state, in respect of salaries and allowances, the Oyo state Judiciary is ahead of every other institutions and every other civil servant”, Martins declared.

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It has been very tortuous time for workers in the last one year-SSANU

Interestingly, the National Vice President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU) Comrade Alfred Jimoh laments that workers in Nigeria have passed through ”hell” in the last one year.

”I will not say workers have had a  wonderful time, I would rather say that it has been very tortuous time for workers in the last one year and  for SSANU in particular, because the last one year has witnessed salary cuts from the Federal Government and even in some state Universities. So, workers in the last one year have been grappling with abject poverty, serious level of  deprivation, hunger, which ought not to be. You will agree with me, that the last one year has been the worst year  of recession in this country. And  as a Labour leader I feel pained in my heart, that workers who are daily toiling to make the economy of this country to grow, are the ones suffering the economic recession, the most. They are  the ones who are working and are not been paid, while the politicians, the legislators and Government appointees feed fat.  The last one year has been a tortuous one for workers in  Nigeria.  Having said this, getting into another  year, after the May day, one will want to say that Government at various  levels, one will want to call on them to put more priority on the welfare of workers. A situation where Governors of some state owe workers six months salaries and still think it is still better than those state owing maybe 12 or 15 months, is not the best. Workers ought not to be owed their  salaries at all, because the salaries  been paid to workers is what is sustaining the economy. It is only when workers are paid that most sectors of the economy can move on fine. So, I will call on the Government to ensure that the salaries and welfare of workers are given special priority. We should keep up the hope, we should not lose hope on the project, Nigeria.

Do Nigerian Workers Have A reason To Celebrate ?

The scene was that of workers with gloomy faces, clad in various vests, with their trade union names embedded on the vests, moving in and out of the Lekan Salami stadium venue of the 2017 workers day celebrations in Oyo state.

Even though the atmosphere indicated that all was not well, the organizers still went on with the programme of events.

Workers in attendance discussed their various experiences in the last few years,  with worries written all over their faces, while taking solace in the saying ”When there is life there is hope”.

For quite a while, some labour leaders had been silent on the plight of workers in the state, to the  chagrin of most workers, who insist that such attitude is an abberation, this is as most state Governments are at a lose on the legacies to be left behind on completion of their tenure.

The complain  by the Chairman of an industrial union ,that he was  yet to be given the special vests designed for  Labour leaders, is a reflection of the communication lag in most unions. The Chairman was eventually given a tight  fitting vest, which was obviously too small for him.

The large number of law enforcement agents and security operatives at the venue was a source of discomfort for the workers.

Do workers in Oyo state and Nigeria as a whole have a reason to celebrate ?

Professor Sabitu Olagoke is the Founder and spiritual head of Shafaudeen Worldwide, Wakajaye, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Professor Olagoke provides an answer. ”Workers do not have any cause to celebrate today, but to gather together, on pryer in a sober reflection mood. Workers are the engine of development of any nation, workers activities all along over the years have been moderate and  regulated through  laws and policies. Unfortunately Government is always at the violation end of the promises and policies. The way we treat workers in Nigeria, is like incapacitating the geese that lays the golden egg. Presently, workers in Nigeria are been traumatized and bullied, through the non payment of salaries by their political head employers. And along the line, they have been divided into fragments, so that they will not be able to speak with one voice”.

Of worry is the ”hot and cold’ attitude” of those, workers in the country rely on to achieve satisfactory remuneration and working conditions. This has made workers to be at the mercy of their pay masters in the public and private sectors.

”When you compare the dynamism of the present labour forces in Nigeria, you will agree with me that they have been incapacitated. They are not as viral as before, this is because of the divide and rule tactics of Government, destabilizing them and disorganizing their structure.  Workers those days, were known to fight for the cause of the poor., but today, some of their executives, in fact, romance with their employer oppressors in the name of Government.  Even, some union executives, milk dry the stipends of their unions. And in Nigeria today, most of them cannot really correct the aberrations, of Government because they prefer to compete with Government in self enrichment, while they collaborate in snubbing public schools  or having their children study abroad, while deceiving the masses, who really need their help and upon whose mandate they are carrying the banners of the unions. If all these anomalies are not corrected, the hope of the common man will be permanently dashed, essence of governance is to work to be able to serve the people, who gave them the mandate to serve. Nigeria needs constructive opposition, not necessarily from the inner fold or politically disgruntled parties, but from unions, who are expected to be objective and neutral in pursuing the cause of sanity for the common man, Professor Olagoke noted.

For Comrade Waheed Olojede, who is the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)Oyo state council, some people  in far way Chicago, United States of America(USA) in 1887, lost their lives for the cause  of workers of the world. ”Today is a day to remember them and of course, to pray for them and of course to pray for their families.  This is why ,we say that even in the face of all odds, as workers of Nigeria we must celebrate to remember them and pray for the repose of their souls. Secondly,  I want to say that in reality, workers are not happy, not only in Oyo state, but the entire country. Today, Government at all levels are indebted in one way or the other, promotions are not effected as and when due, salaries and pensions are not paid, nobody is even talking about gratuity any longer. Workers are groaning, they are not happy, they are hungry, notwithstanding that, we have to celebrate ourselves.  No matter the situation, we we must gather  to celebrate ourselves and to also believe that life must continue, in whatever way, in whatever situation we find ourselves”, Comrade Olojede asserted.

Some union leaders in Oyo state have their own opinions. Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran is the Chairman Trade Union Congress(TUC), Oyo state council. Comrade Ogundiran is of the opinion that workers have a cause to celebrate .

”Workers have the cause to celebrate because we are alive,  the nation we  call Nigeria is our common project, it is still surviving, so workers have the cause to celebrate. But who should celebrate workers and who are the workers celebrating themselves ? What you are seeing  here, it is the workers whop are celebrating themselves, to give thanks to God that they are alive, they are surviving.Also to give thanks to God that this project called Nigeria is surviving”.

”But normally we have a word for employers, be it state, be it private, they are the ones to have looked back and celebrate their workers  because without us they cannot be, without us they cannot survive, nobody would have seen them as employers. But because we are working , we are the geese that are laying the golden eggs that they are eating, it behooves on them to celebrate their workers, but what do we have ? It is the workers coming together to celebrate themselves, even for that alone it is worth celebrating.

However, Comrade Ogundiran insists that when other indices and indicators are used, the workers day is not worth celebrating. ”What is the value of the Naira ? How many factories are closing down ? Look at the public service itself, is it looking like the way it used to look like, No !, it is not worth celebrating”.

For Comrade Olusola Fatoki-Cole, Chairman Non Academic Staff Union(NASU)Oyo state council workers have every cause to celebrate. ”By the grace of God we have every reason  to celebrate, to celebrate for been alive for been alive I think is the major reason  for us to be celebrating, we are hopeful that today may be bleak, but after the dark cloud, there will be sunshine,. by the special grace of God, we have every reason to thank God. I t is only the dead, who have no cause to celebrate, but we are still alive and God has been preserving us, for the fact that our salaries are not paid up to date, for the fact that they are still owing us some months of salary arrears, but we thank God that we don’t have any cause to be on the sick bed, even though that is the wish of some people, who are against the workers in this state, but God has proved them wrong.  God has disappointed them,  that in spite of hunger, in spite of starvation, God is  keeping us alive. So, we have every reason to celebrate.

Indeed, Comrade Ademola Babalola, Chairman, Medical and Health  Workers Union of Nigeria(MHWUN)Oyo state council believes that workers have every reason to celebrate, even as he counsels workers to remain steadfast, as the present difficulties they are passing through is for a short while.

”Workers have a cause to celebrate. Come what may, whatever they may be facing or they may  be encountering, we believe it will be just for a while, it would come and go. So, we believe by God’s grace everything would soon be alright.

What about the workers  who have passed on to glory, as a result of the uncomfortable situation ? They do not have nay reason to celebrate. So sad.

Rather Than Commit Suicide, Nigerians Should Revolt Against Those Causing Economic Hardships-Union Leader

Nigerians have been called upon to shun the temptation to commit suicide  in the face of Economic challenges confronting them.

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This  call was made on Tuesday by the immediate past Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC)Oyo state council, who is also the incumbent Chairman Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN)Oyo state chapter, Comrade  Andrew Emelieze,in a chat with Federationews2day,in Ibadan,Nigeria.

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”For Nigerian,I beckon on them,I beckon on my brothers and sisters to stop taking their lives,rather, they should start pulling their energies together, so that we can use it for a popular revolution,against those causing us stress and crisis in this country.  I plead with you all,I call on you all, my brothers and sisters, stop taking your lives. Stop committing suicide. Direct your energies to Aso Rock, direct your energies to state Houses of Government in Nigeria”.

”Direct your energies to the National Assembly,  direct your energies to the different state  Houses of Assembly in protest, stop committing suicide. I call upon you, to stop thinking about  suicide. Suicide. Suicide is not the way out. Suicide can never  be the way out,we should come together to fight our common enemy. And who are the common enemy ? The ruling class.Brothers and sisters stop taking your lives. There is judgement,there is punishment for suicide. I f you kill yourself,the problem will still be there”, Comrade Emelieze declared.

He lamented that corruption had impacted negatively on the lives of workers in the country, saying”what about corruption of the Government against the people ?  Take for instance,those who are paid N18,000 minimum wage,in the face of a dwindling economy, is that not corruption of the Government against the workers ? The workers who are earning N18,000 minimum wages, they cannot go home with N18,000 minimum wages. It is also corruption. Until we change the system, that is when we can be free from all these  corruption”.

”The economy we are practicing now, is pirated.  It is an economy that is putting wealth in the hands of a few,while the majority of the people are going through hell. What President Muhammdu Buhari is doing now, is a distraction, he is diverting  the attention of the Nigerian people,from the incompetence of the ruling class in Nigeria, from the  failure of his government. So that people will think that he is working and our attention will be diverted towards fighting corruption, meanwhile the economy is going down the drain by the day.And who are those  enjoying it ? It is still the same ruling class,who are enjoying”,he concluded.

Quacks Defy Govt. in Nigeria

Despite the efforts of the Federal Government to curb the activities of quacks in the country, they have continued with their stock -in-trade with impunity.

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Indeed, professional bodies consciously or unconsciously support the activities of quacks, who have infiltrated all professions.

In the bore hole industry, quacks have continued to fleece unsuspecting Nigerians of their money by providing sub-standard bore-holes, with the active connivance of some unscrupulous law enforcement agents.

Adeyinka Ajayi is the National Public Relations Officer of the Association of Water Well Drillers, Rig Owners and Practitioners(AWDROP). Ajayi laments  that despite the huge amounts of money spent by Government in the water sector, the sector is yet to produce positive results.

”If you go around, there are a lot of moribund bore holes.  And if you look at it, on a yearly basis, let us look at how much Government is pumping into the drilling of new bore holes. What is the result ? Is there any achievement ? Is there sustainability ? There is none”, he declared

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Ajayi  commended  Government for taking  steps towards  regulating activities of those in the water sector, saying ”it is a welcome idea, but there should be enforcement, because I realize  that in Nigeria, we only make laws, thereafter there is no enforcement. This policy will help a lot, in the area of indiscriminate bore hole drilling, it has to be a thing of the past”.

”And I what I will advise, as regards the obtaining of the license, there must be stringent conditions, just as it happens in Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya. You can’t  just go there and start drilling. We, who are Nigerians were in Ghana sometimes ago, we were driven out through legislation. Foreigners cannot just come and be tapping our resources. Not that we will just make a law, we just dump it somewhere, no enforcement. There must be enforcement by Government”, he concluded.