Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, has assured the leadership of the Labour Unions in state that his administration will continue to cooperate with them as partners in progress and contributors to the growth and development of the state.
The Governor added that his government would always work with the leadership to ensure that their agitations are addressed without protests and confrontations.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor stated this during a meeting with the leadership of the Labour Unions in the state, held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan, said the meeting created an avenue for the government to discuss ways to improve the welfare of the state’s workers.
The governor, who called for patience from the Labour Unions, noted that the agitations of many years cannot be resolved in a few years.
The governor, however, pledged to always have a quarterly engagement with the labour unions starting from March, 2023.
He also sought the cooperation of the civil servants and labour leaders to help improve the Internally Generated Revenue of the state in order to cover its recurrent expenditure.
He said: “Let me say congratulations to the Chairman of TUC. You got me boxed in when you said we have not been able to fulfill the quarterly meeting agreement we had.
“The truth is, this year has been a unique and difficult year and we have also been politicking and all of that.
“When I make a promise, I always like to keep it and if I am not able to do that, I apologise. So, I apologise to you because we have not kept that promise, but our environment is like trying to climb to the top using a greasy chain.
“When this administration came in, after the handing over, the first assignment I did was to approve workers’ salary for that month (May), which was about N4.8 billion. We met three years leave bonus backlog for primary school teachers. Each year was N1.3 billion and we cleared that and as I speak to you today, with the backlog or promotions that we implemented, the wage bill is about N7.2 billion.
“In 42 months that we have been here, we have had to supplement salaries with between N500 million or sometimes N2 billion in order to do that on a monthly basis.
“So, if you add the IGR plus what we are getting from federal allocation, it is enough to pay the salaries.
“ In order to increase the IGR, you have to carry out capital projects, look after infrastructure and engage the world to see this place as an investor’s haven. And for us to do that, we saw the need to improve on our security system.
“At that time, security also became an issue and it is not only here but all across the country. We were having spill-over effect here in Oyo State. We met Operation Burst on ground truly but they were nothing really to write home about but we created a new outfit, Amotekun.
“I am happy to tell you that I looked at the report from BIR for November IGR and we were able to bring in N3.8 billion for that month. We have not only doubled what we met when we came in, we have moved on. Our target is that, as a state, we should be able to get our IGR to the point where it can, at least, cover our recurrent expenditure so that whatever we are getting from the federal allocation may just be a bonus. And I can tell you that we can achieve that and we will achieve that as a state but we need the cooperation of everybody, especially the civil servants and Labour leaders.”
The Governor equally declared that his administration would not wait for Labour Unions to express grievances before it does whatever is needful, saying “I remember the negotiation on minimum wage and the consequential adjustment and I feel, as a state, we came out better than most of other states. Some have reversed and some are behind in those payments.
“But for us, we know that to have the type of environment where the artisans, traders, can get something from the economy, we have to pay the workers.
“We don’t have to keep fighting because the objective is the same because we want to look after the workers, their welfare and ensure that we manage the commonwealth of our state in an open and transparent manner.
“So, when people say if you don’t fight, you don’t have reason to be there. No, you can still make your point without fighting.
“Yes, PASAN can agitate and give ultimatum but I can also say we can do no-work-no-pay. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid but where will that take us as a state? I have certain powers as the governor of the state but power without control is an accident.
“So, I believe I will get better at this quarterly engagement. I believe the cooperation and the way we have related in managing the state for the benefit of our people, they deserve continuity.
“In Oyo State of today, we have actually moved away from the business-as-usual system and I can give an apt example. Most of the newly recruited teachers are now productive in our schools and what that means is, our education sector did not get to the position we are in one day. It must have been progressive policies over the year that compounded the problems.
“But certain decisions that are being taken today will have the effect of restoring the old glory back but it won’t happen overnight. Some may not even feel the impact of our decisions until another three to four years. But if we are consistent over this period, we will get to that position sooner,” the governor added.
Earlier in their separate remarks, the leadership of the Labour Unions commended the magnanimity of Governor Makinde towards the state workers, pledging their unconditional support for the success of the present administration in the state.
The programme had in attendance members of the state cabinet and other political functionaries, including the Special Adviser to Governor Makinde on Labour Matters, Comrade Titilola Bayo- Sodo; Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters, Hon. Babatunde Oduyoye.