There was a mild drama in Akure,the Ondo State Capital, on Tuesday during the celebration of the 2018 Workers’ Day as workers in the state disagreed with the Governor’s position on payment of leave bonus.
The Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu while speaking at the event, said leave bonus was not a legitimate right of the workers, saying he would only pay at a convenient time when the state is buoyant.
This, however, did not go down well with the workers as they in their large numbers shouted on the governor and worked out from the venue with different solidarity songs.
Akeredolu in his speech said: “I need not remind workers that this administration inherited a huge debt portfolio when it assumed office last year. It is also a notorious fact that a heavy burden of salary arrears of seven months was on the State. We promised to offset all arrears owed. We have been able to keep the promise, partly. Four months out of the seven months salary arrears owed has been paid so far. We have paid salaries till date.
“The current state of affairs is depressing. We are far away from our destination, even if we have found the right path. The journey to redemption is arduous, no doubt. All of us must show sufficient commitment to drag the state out of poverty.
“The practice of near-total dependence on Federal Allocation must change. Other states can afford to be complacent, not our dear Ondo State whose people’s industry contributed immensely to the country’s GDP in the past. It is a tragic irony that some people now refer to our State as a civil service enclave where governance has been reduced, virtually, to payment of salaries, allowances, grants and subventions.
“The retrogressive attitude of over-dependence on oil revenue has had its debilitating effects on the polity. It has exposed even the workforce to a charge of indolence. It has rendered claims based on perceived entitlements suspect. It has reduced our artisans to the deplorable status of mere serfs in their own country. Our people are unable to measure or feel the real impact and justification for an over-bloated public service, 1% of the population, which gobbles 95% of the earnings of the State. The pervasive poverty in the land is traceable to a largely unproductive and parasitic workforce.
“This Administration solicits the support of the workers, nay the generality of our people in the informal sector. We have taken fundamental steps to reverse the backward trend. We will continue to encourage genuine investors to partner with our Government for the development of the neglected sectors of the economy. We appeal to workers to adopt a new attitude towards the business of governance. It is only this progressive partnership which holds a true redemptive promise.”
Earlier in her addresss, leader of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in the state, Comrade Bosede Daramola urged Governor Akeredolu to pay their three months outstanding salary and 20% balance of October 2016 and leave allowance of 2017.
She also called on the state government as a matter of urgency to sanitize the educational system, saying that adequate attention should be given to all the states technical schools for total overhauling and repositioning.
Daramola advised members of the state House of Assembly to as a matter urgency identify with the aspirations of Nigerians by displaying the courage to vote ‘YES’ for local government autonomy in Nigeria.