Salary Arrears :We are in a Precarious, Terrible and Killing Situation-Oyo LG Workers

Local Government workers in Oyo state are singing a different chorus entirely, on the issue of salary arrears. The workers argue that most of them received salaries last, between June, July and September, 2016, while some lament that they have not been paid salaries since May, 2016. In this interview with Federationews2day, the Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE)Oyo state Council,Comrade Joseph Oguntimehin speaks on this and related issues. Excerpts :

How has it been with  Local Government workers in Oyo state in recent times ?

On the issue of salaries for Local Government workers, the situation is pathetic in the Local Governments, frustrating.  We are in a precarious, terrible and killing situation, because as I am speaking now, very few Local Governments in the state, have been able to pay September, 2016 salaries.

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For instance, in the whole of Ibadan, only Ibadan South West has been able to pay  September, 2016 salaries. Eight(8) Local Governments in Oke-Ogun paid September salaries, ditto Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa East. In Oyo zone, Atiba and one other Local Government. In Ogbomosho zone, only Oriire has been able to pay September, 2016 salaries to workers. So, in all out of 33 Local Governments in the state, we have about 14 to 16 that paid up to September and  in some of these Local Governments, those that were able to pay September, have not been able to pay deductions, and deductions varies, union dues, cooperatives loans, and so on, are there, stagnant.

The last salaries paid in Lagelu Local Government was in May, 2016. Several other Local Governments paid last in June, July, 2016. You can see that we are in a precarious and killing situation. I want to use this medium to appeal to His Excellency, we know he is doing  is best for the state, but he should also, with milk of kindness, look at the precarious situation in the Local Government and help us out, because the allocation coming from Abuja is enough to pay Local Government salaries.

But the chunk  of this money, more than 90 per cent of allocation from Abuja, VAT and IGR, goes for the payment of Primary School Teachers and non teaching staff of Primary schools, leaving Local Governments with about  10 per cent.

So, by the time they now distribute the remaining one hundred and something million, you discover  that some Local Governments will be collecting six million, five million, four million and three million. And now tell me, if they don’t touch this money, how much will they save to meet up with a month’s salaries, that is not less than N35 million, in some cases.

That is why some Local Governments are owing six months, seven months, eight  months salary arrears. What we are saying is that , when the money comes as they make  Primary School Teachers, first line charge, Local Government workers salaries should also be mad first line charge What is good for the goose, is also good for  the gander. After all, the money belongs to Local Governments in the first place. And the law states that Local Governments should participate in the running of primary schools, not that the entire burden should be placed on Local Governments. We are to participate, that is the constitution and that is the stand of the Supreme Court on the N7.2 billion Paris Club refund.  That money belongs to Local Governments, don’t be misinformed, because we were reliably informed that during Akala’s regime, his administration collected the state’s counterpart fund of the Paris Club refund, so, the N7.2 billion, belongs to the Local Governments.  And we are appealing to His Excellency to release that money to the Local Governments, at least a reasonable amount of the money should be released forthwith to Local Governments, so that the backlog of salary arrears on ground , will be cleared.

Our members  cannot pay their children’s school fees, many are owing their Landlords, many are sick, they cannot get treatment for themselves and their families, and yet we call them workers. The Government should see Local Governments as part of their  responsibilities. There ins no point sitting on Local Governments’ money. We are suffering and our counterparts in the Teaching service are enjoying, two months salaries have been released to them from Local Governments’ money, leaving us with nothing to write home about. What is the offense of Local Government workers ?

We are still appealing  to him, before it gets out of hand, should this month be allowed to run out, without any appreciable solution, we  may not be able  to guarantee industrial peace in the state Local Government service, enough is enough.

Our people have shown enough understanding and restraint, so that we will not be seen as troublesome people, people trying to cause  unrest, that is why we mellowed. U I have written series of letters, today, not less than is (6) officials of the state Government were written on this same issue, including His Excellency.

Oyo Govt. Used N4.2 billion Out of Paris Club Refund To Pay Workers’Salaries-TUC

All has not been well for workers in  Oyo state for several months now, due to salary related issues. In this interview with Federationews2day, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC) Oyo state council, who also doubles  as the Chairman Public Service Joint Negiotiating Council and Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants, Oyo state branch, Comrade Olusola Ogundiran, throws more light into the salary challenges. Excerpts :

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How has the situation been with workers in Oyo state Nigeria ? 

I will start by saying that actually there was supposed to be a standing committee of Government and Labour to trash out issues relating to workers’ salaries in the state, but unfortunately, we wouldn’t know why that committee, after sitting  for about two months or so, why the committee has stooped sitting.  But what we have seen and believed, is that once the funds for the Federal allocation comes in , the state Government set about paying workers’ salaries. But it would have been better and more  transparent, if the committee that was  agreed to be set up  by Government and Labour had been sitting.  The  purpose of the sitting, is okay, this is Government account, this is what comes in, then workers will know what to expect, but in Government wisdom that committee has stopped meeting. Be that as it may, the state Government has been up and doing, in fulfilling its promise. Earlier on, we we had been receiving monthly salaries, the fund that comes from the Federal allocation and the budget support fund will come in handy.  We thank the Government because in December, 2016, two months salaries were paid and that covered the months of June and July, 2016 and currently, Oyo state workers have started receiving their month of August and September, 2016 salaries. On the issue of the over deduction of the Paris club that was refunded to the state, , initially Oyo state was not listed, it was revealed the Oyo state  had collected  this refund in 2008, I think and maybe we will not be entitled. But kudos to the efforts of  the current administration, they opened their account books, I think, there was argument here and there, and Oyo state was to collect N7.2 billion, and it was actually collected. The Government made that revelation and confirmation, that N7.2 billion was given to Oyo state from the deduction in the Paris club loan.  The over deduction that was refunded had a constitutionality from the Federal Government, that each state government should  use 50 per cent of whatever they are given to settle outstanding salaries. And workers were all  expecting and we thank His Excellency, Governor Ajimobi, it is on record that Oyo state used 60 per cent of the fund, amounting to N4.2 billion to settle outstanding salaries. So, that, in addition to the funds from the statutory allocation was used in settling workers August and September salaries. So that is the situation today. There is a peculiarity in salary payments in Oyo state, because before now , there has been screening upon screening , under BVN screening, people with multiple accounts, people with no BVN, because of the shortfall from the funds from the statutory allocation, names were being removed from the payroll, until the needful was done. So, Oyo state was using the available funds, an average of N3.6 billion, that is what comes from the federal allocation and the budget support fund to pay salaries. Occasionally, rising up, as more names  were been cleared during the screening exercise, we all know that the wage bill will be on the rise. So, of recent,  apart from about 632 workers, who have been cleared from the physical exercises and re-integrated into the Government payroll, another 200 have been cleared in the certificate screening saga. First, it was 70 and just last week, another 130, they have been cleared and would be re-integrated into the pay roll of the state. So, the wage bill will continue to rise.

No Automatic Promotion For Students: We Need To Thank Oyo Govt. But…..-Prof. Olagoke

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”A situation where only children of the poor or only those who know little about education, are in the schools, any slight change in the parameter of measuring education may automatically attract a negative reaction. There is still a lot to be done, removing automatic promotion is number one, there are still a lot of things to be corrected, like you don’t pay the Teachers and you want them to perform, where lies the factors of motivation ? There is no way that they can be motivated.”

The Oyo state Government recently announced the cancellation of automatic promotion in secondary schools in the state. In the interview with Federationews2day, the Founder and spiritual head of Shafaudeen Worldwide, Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria, Professor Sabitu Olagoke, says it is a welcome development, although a lot still has to be done to salvage education in the state. Excerpts :

What is your reaction to the new policy of Oyo state Government on promotion in secondary schools in the state ?

In the first place, automatic promotion for students in our schools is suicidal, because the spirit behind assessment and evaluation has defeated. And the consequence of this, has been mass failure all along. In a situation, where Oyo state is meant to be a pace setter in everything, is now found to be at the 30th or 32nd position of the 36 states, is not only embarrassing, but very, very, threatening to the future of our children, because education is an empowerment tool, through which the future leaders are been processed, and once everything is disorganized, it means in the nearest future, products  of Oyo state schools will be incompetent and they won’t be able to compete with their counterparts, not only from Nigeria, but from other nations. It ought to have been done ever since, but the reason behind even allowing the automatic promotion was more of a kind of economic deceit, whereby successive governments have always been shying  away from injecting the necessary funds into having more buildings in schools and engaging in facility update, that is why they have continued to say that, students, whether they pass or not should be promoted. But now that the reality is now at the doorstep of everybody, we need to thank the Oyo state Government for realizing the folly. But we need to give them some strokes of the cane for delaying it for so long, because when a policy is to change, it is through proactive measure, whereby you give a notice, a year or two, and you follow it to the letter. But a situation whereby is is been rolled out through emergency or fire brigade approach, then the counter reaction is what we are witnessing from the students as well as from some parents, who don’t even support what the students have done. Personally and generally it is very, very unwholesome for any student to damage property of schools, whether private of government. But it is easy for these crop of students to do so, mainly because most of them are from homes that are educationally disadvantaged, their parents neither know anything about education nor what it takes to send children to school, so, with that poor background of the parent, what do you expect ?

Unfortunately, the elites in the society and people in government, do not have their children  in these schools, which government has failed to fund. And the reason been that all these schools are been underfunded and they lack the necessary tolls and facilities to encourage knowledge update. A situation where only children of the poor or only those who know little about education, are in the schools, any slight change in the parameter of measuring education may automatically attract a negative reaction. There is still a lot to be done, removing automatic promotion is number one, there are still a lot of things to be corrected, like you don’t pay the Teachers and you want them to perform, where lies the factors of motivation ? There is no way that they can be motivated.

Those days when we were in Primary school, because those Teachers were motivated, they took us as their children and that is why we were able to receive the best from them. Government is having the best of Teachers, because the minimum standard is NCE. So, if well motivated, they are ready to change things for the better. Government must look into that area. And the government, generally, must look into the area of living wageN18,000 can buy nothing as minimum wage, the living wage must be visited, so that Teachers themselves will be able to carry out their daily activities. And the best way to do it is to follow the Kenyan and Ethiopian approach, where they cut the salaries of the top echelon. If it is cut, the present economic recession could be addressed. So, government must be realistic, the way they approach issues. The masses in this country need palliatives, through civil servants, who will now go to the market to buy foodstuff for the money to go round.

Oyo Teachers Now Charge N50 For Extra Coaching To Keep Body And Soul Together

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Secondary schools in Oyo state now charge N50.00 levy for extra tutorials, while also extending the school hours to 4.30pm in the evening from the former closing time of 2.00pm.

The decision of the schools may not be unconnected with the inability of the state government to offset several months of salary arrears it owes its workforce, including Teachers.

Even though, nothing concrete has been achieved overtime in the classrooms, during normal school hours, the Teachers, go to the length of seizing footwear of students, who default in the payment of the levy.

Parents and guardians have continuously objected to the new levy, just as they lamented the difficulties they pass through  in sourcing for money to pay the N1,000 per term school fees of their children.

Educationists insist that the present crop of secondary  school students  are beneficiaries of automatic promotion at the primary school level, even as they warn that only little could be achieved from the impromptu introduction of the ”No Automatic Promotion” policy of the state government.

We Make Education Affordable for the Poor-Imperial Professional Academy

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As stakeholders in the education in Oyo state gear their efforts towards boosting the morale of  disillusioned students in the state, the Registrar, Imperial Professional Academy, Ibadan Anglican Diocese Office complex, Obafemi Awolowo way, UMC, Molete, Ibadan, Nigeria Oyo state, Nigeria, Mr. OLusegun Ogunsanya says different category of students with academic and financial problems have found solace in the academy. Excerpts :

What are your views about the education standard in Oyo state ?

In Oyo state presently, the education system is having problems, and there are reasons for this.  One of the main reason for this, is finance. Oyo state is a very large state and the allocation coming to this state cannot actually finance the education system in Oyo state. So with this, the government has been having problems with their schools, as in running the schools, paying staff salaries and even the government has even committed itself to finance WAEC examinations(government has already ceased to pay for the examinations), so the government is finding a way of dropping some of its responsibilities, and it is affecting the education system in the state. You will see for example, the payment of salaries of Teaching staff, in public schools, has been affected and this is already affecting the quality of education, by bringing it down seriously in this state.  So, as an institution, we decided that on what to do to assist this educational  situation in Oyo state, we decided to set up this institution, and what we do here, is to assist parents , the poor ones in the area of uplifting and improving the education of their children and make them as equally competent and capable like those ones in the private schools. So what we do here, we offer assistance to these children by asking their parents to pay N100.0 per day and we giver them quality and standard education. We have our Teachers and we have people who read  Education at  First Degree and Masters levels. In our classrooms we have teaching aids to assist these children and then we make sure that we monitor them and manage them to any level that they want to reach. For example, we have those without placement into Secondary schools, so instead of them dropping out and roaming about, we have brought them here and we are giving them the same opportunity, their mates have. We have those  who are supposed to go to Senior Secondary School 3, but the schools are using a kind of weeding system, at least to streamline or reduce the intakes. So,those people that were dropped, they asked them to repeat, which is not supposed to  be, so we are equally assisting in this area by asking them to come to this place, so that they can be of equal standard with their mates, who are already in SSS 3, So, these people are equally paying N100.00 daily and we offer them quality education, so that at the end of the day, they will be able to,sit for WAEC conducted examinations like their mates, so that they can have a better life. There are also some, who are unable to secure admissions into higher institutions, they continue to repeat University Matriculation Examinations(UTME), all the time, year in, year out, and at the end of the day they get frustrated. So, we also operate Advanced levels here, to assist them, it is just  for a period of 10 months and this will offer them an opportunity to go to 200 level and at that level the competition is reduced and less, so they can easily enter into the university at 200 level, instead of repeating the entrance examination, year in, year out, so these are the opportunities we have for education system in Oyo state.

Appointment of Non Indigenes : Other State Govs. Should Emulate Gov. Amosun of Ogun state

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By Eze Dr. Alex Anozie

Head of Igbos in Ibadan and Oyo state

Vice President, Association of Ezendigbo in Diaspora(Southern Nigeria)

”It is only when things of this nature begin to happen, we can truly say we are truly one Nigeria. Every other thing we have been doing, without practising the above, is nothing  but deceit to ourselves”

I have just finished reading from the Punch newspaper of 2nd September 2016, page 10, of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state’s inclusion of non indigenes amongst the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries. Governor Amosun has broken another record in the history of Nigeria. I become more proud to be a Nigerian, when I see things of such happening in this our great country.

I want to see a  Nigeria where in Igbo speaking states, we see few non Igbos appointed to work with the government there, I want to see a Nigeria where in the North, we see few non Hausas enjoy such oppurtunities,  I want to see a Nigeria where in the West we see non Yorubas given such oppurtunity in the Government.

It is only when things of this nature begin to happen, we can truly say we are truly one Nigeria. Every other thing we have been doing, without practising the above, is nothing  but deceit to ourselves. And funny enough, we have not realized that this is one of the easiest way to truly unify our country without much stress, because when the common people of Nigeria see this practice, and Nigerians are living and working together peacefully with that love for our oneness, the much desired peace and unity will just be growing naturlally.

So, I commend and congratulate Governor Amosun for that wisdom and courage he applied in doing that, of course one cannot rule out the fact that some over zealous tribalistic individuals within his ethnic group, who always constitute themselves to a clog  to the true progress and unity of our country, Nigeria, but are pretending to be defending  their Ethnic tradition or whatever may not buy the idea of giving out such oppurtunity to non indigenes in his state, but he went ahead to do what he did. I say kudos to him, Governor Amosun for doing what he did.

I implore Governors of  other state all over Nigeria to emulate him, it is a very good omen for Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.

Ibadan Community Alleged that I am a Kidnapper, because they say I Don’t Settle Them-Victim of False Allegation

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An ugly trend that has become centre stage in several communities in Ibadan, Nigeria is the leveling of false allegations against innocent residents and in some cases house owners by evil men and women in connivance with community associations and law enforcement  agents for selfish and self-centered purposes.

The evil acts are perpetrated through the use of  children, youths, petty traders and  artisans within the communities.

The actions of these men and women has resulted in avoidable situations that has left on its trail tears, sorrow and in some cases bloodshed and death.

Olise Ugochukwu of Orisco BMW Mechanical Engineering Diagnostics, Oluseyi area, Anfani road, Ibadan is one of such victims.

Ugochukwu recounts his ordeal. Excerpts :

The community association and an unspecified number of residents alleged that I am a kidnapper, they also alleged that I chased an 11 year old girl with a machete. They vandalized my workshop and stole equipment and property worth several thousands  of Naira.

They were also insisting that I don’t settle them. The Police waded into the issue and organized a search of my workshop and apartment, but nothing incriminating was found. The people started begging  me to forgive them, some newspapers and Television stations carried the news. The Police had to compel them to write an undertaking, to the effect that no harm should befall me and nothing incriminating must be planted in my workshop or residence.

BVN Challenge: We Have Not Received Salaries For Nine Months Some Oyo Workers

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A sizable number of workers in Oyo state have raised the alarm over the non payment of their salaries for nine months.

These category of workers blame their plight on the controversy surrounnding the Bank Verification(BVN) process, instituted by the state government  to check its bloated wgae bill.

Although a negligble number of workers say that they have received their salaries for February,  majority of the workers  insist that the future of prompt payment of salaries in the state remains bleak.

In a chat with Federrationews2day, the Chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union(MHWUN) Pastor Ademola Babalola stated that those workers with BVN related issues were among those affected by the ongoing verification exercise by the state government.

Oyo state government says it does not wish to sack workers, it is only repositioning its workforce, thousands have been cleared in the ongoing exercise. No union can say it is buoyant now. Workers must be productive and efficient. But it would take the grace of God for the state Government to be able to pay the salary arrears of its workforce”, Pastor Babalola concluded.

Don’t Allow A Cabal To Control President Buhari-Oyo Gov. To APC South West Leaders

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Oyo state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has called on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the South West to consistently present suggestions and position papers to President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that the President was not controlled  by a cabal.

The Oyo state Governor made this call in his remarks last week Thursday, at the APC South West conference, held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan, Nigeria.

”Our President is one of the most patriotic, committd and corruption free President. The guy is the best of our time. Are we tellling him everybody is afraid, afraid of what ?The President alone cannot fight corruption.  We must not leave the President alone. We must constantly have suggestions and position papers for the President. But we should not leave him alone to some cabal to control”.

It is our duty and our right to contribute and participate in this Federal Government. Do not play the ostrich, there are time some of us might have problems, what is the party doing ? Don’t leave the Governors alone, don’t leave the President alone. Workers are complaining that there are no salaries, you just left the Governors alone. We are your Governors”, Senator Ajimobi declared.

Govt. Has A Duty To Provide Free Education-Prof. Sekoni

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A university Lecturer  says  that it is the duty of Government to provide compulsory and free education at all levels.

This is the assertion of Prof. Ropo Sekoni, who delivered a lecture with theme ”The South West and the challenges of Change in Nigeria”, at the All Progressives Congress, South West conference in Ibadan, Nigeria.

”Our education is in trouble. In a democratic government, it is not the responsibility of government to establish elitist schools. The responsibility of government is to  provide compulsory and free Primary and Secondary  education. We have more Okada riders in this region. Our competitiveness has been radically and severely reduced. If we are not careful, we will be celebrating the glory of yester- years. This is some thing that should worry our leaders.

The position of the Professor was adopted by  the APC in its communique issued and read at the end of the conference by Dr. Ademodi, as it also declared that Primary and Secondary education must be made compulsory and free in the South West Geo-Political zone.

However, in Oyo state, pupils and students of public schools in the state now pay N1,000 as fees per term, this is side by side the state government’s resolve to introduce Public  Private Partnership in the education sector.