Opposition accuses Ondo governor of labour insensitivity
• Government says they are liars
Opposition elements within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ondo State Youth for Positive Change (OYPC) and the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) have flayed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for introducing a policy of 80 percent part payment for workers’ salaries and pensions.
In a statement yesterday, coordinator of the group, Olasinbo Momoha said the government should endeavour to meet the demands of the organized labour to ensure the full payment of workers’ salaries and pensions of those who have served it diligently in the past.
Newly registered APDA, which rose from a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure, yesterday, accused the governor of “playing politics with the welfare of the workforce over payment of salaries and emoluments.”
The group also condemned the Akeredolu-led administration for continued indifference to the demands spelt out by the organised labour against the 80 per cent salary part payment recently paid to the workers.
The group in addition demanded improved funding of all the government hospitals including the Mother and Child Hospitals, which hitherto offered free medical services to expectant mothers during the administration of immediate past governor, Olusegun Mimiko, saying, “now, the same hospitals charge exorbitant amount, which has led to the maternal death of pregnant women in the state.”
It also faulted the recent political appointment of the governor, which it described as too sectional. It noted that the majority of those appointed by Akeredolu were from Owo, the governor’s hometown.
The group expressed concern over the large numbers of those who have just recently joined the party from the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the commissioner’s designate list while those who really suffered to mobilise and build the party in the past were neglected.
In an interview with journalists at the venue of the meeting, the APDA Chairman in the State, Chief Banji Akinkuowo, regretted that it was disheartening that Akeredolu had to be arm-twisted into submission by the workers before he could capitulate and agree to pay the balance of the 20 percent of the refund for September salary arrear.
His words: “Only in May this year, Akeredolu had told the whole world that he needed N76 billion to offset salaries arrears of workers in the state and while giving the break down of this sum, he revealed that of this amount, the salary arrears owed workers by the previous administration for five months amounted to N34.5 billion while N41.5 billion was being owed to retired personnel as gratuities.
“But a simple arithmetic shows that this figure is a mere sham as it does not tally. 34.5 billion divided by five months give a sum of N6.9 bilion per month! This is clearly a huge wage bill of about N3 billion difference from the N3.9 billion that his predecessor paid every month as salaries inclusive of salaries of political appointees which this phantom figure Akeredolu gave did not capture. Pray, have the workers salaries increased overnight?
But defending government position on these allegations, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Segun Ajiboye, said all the accusations by the group, which he described as faceless, were a pack of lies.
According to Ajiboye, the government decided to pay 80 percent of the salaries across board in order to give every worker a sense of belonging and keeping with the promise of the governor not to owe any salary as long as he is in the saddle of governance in the state.
He said, “When the money was released, the governor, in keeping with the regulations, had to pass 25 percent to the local councils where they rightly belong. And also in keeping with the directive on how the money was to be expended, which was between to be between 40 and 50 percent, the governor ceded, far above what other states did, 75 percent to payment of salaries while 25 percent was retained for execution of capital projects.”
Ajiboye also described allegation of sidelining party faithful for those who didn’t work for the party in political appointments as false saying, “the governor had always maintained that only those who worked for the party will get appointment and that is exactly what is happening.”
And on allegations that increased fees was introduced to the Mother and Child Hospitals, Ajiboye said, “those who are making such baseless allegations are either deliberately spewing falsehood or talking from a position of ignorance. There is nothing like that.”
The CPS however urged the opposition to check their facts before going to the press saying the lies they bandied around have shown them as a pack of falsehood peddlers who are out to discredit the government for selfish political reasons.
According to him, “Every true member of Ondo State family who desires development for this state should make proper investigations in order not to mislead the public. This administration is transparent and no information about the state of governance is being horded. They should ask questions and they will get answers.”
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