The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, has called on Governor Rauf Aregbesola to listen to clamour by civil servants and hasten the payment of their 34 months’ salary arrears.
Adeleke who lamented government’s failure to pay workers their salaries said that God frowns at such an act based on the “divine instruction in all holy books that says a labourer deserves his wages in good time.”
Reacting to the three-day warning strike by civil servants in the state who are protesting the nonpayment of 34 months’ salary arrears, allowances and pensions by the state government, the Head of Media and Public Communication of the Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Bamidele Salam, said it is improper for the government to owe arrears for such a long period of time.
The campaign said it wonders why Aregbesola would neglect a fundamental obligation of government for so long without any justifiable reason. It stated that the civil service is the engine room for meticulous implementation of programmes and policies of any serious government and that the institution must be respected and highly motivated.
While commending the labour unions for their endurance and decision to resort to constitutional means of agitating for their rights, Adeleke’s campaign promised that if elected governor, the PDP candidate would obliterate all ‘anti-workers’ policies of the Aregbesola administration and make them proud to be civil servants.
He reiterated his commitment to the welfare of the people of the state, insisting that he regards leadership as a call to selfless service. The PDP leadership in the state also called on the governor to promptly respond to the demand of the workers by ordering immediate payment of the backlog of the workers’ salaries and allowances.
The chairman of the PDP, Soji Adagunodo, in a statement, described the nonpayment of workers’ and pensioners’ financial entitlements as callous and unwarranted. Adagunodo said: “Government has no justification for the brazen oppression of workers who toil day and night to sustain the running of public institutions. To make matters worse, Aregbesola continues to make senior citizens who are pensioners objects of ridicule in the society by refusing to pay their meager pensions and gratuities.”
While expressing the party’s solidarity with the workers, Adagunodo said: “Workers strike would have been averted if the governor hadn’t abandoned his responsibilities to cater for the welfare and security of the greater number of the people of Osun State. Rather than attend to the germane issues raised by the labour unions while the ultimatum lasted, Aregbesola was busy with desperate political campaigns to install his surrogate as the next governor. We condemn this gross insensitivity and call on the governor to immediately address the demands of the workers in order to save millions of innocent citizens from the consequences of a prolonged strike.”
Reacting to the PDP’s statement, the All Progressives Congress (APC) described the PDP as a failed party where previous administrations did not prioritise workers’ welfare and therefore they are not in a position to teach the APC-led government how to take care of workers.
It said that Aregbesola’s APC-led administration took over from PDP when workers’ welfare status
had already been in a shambles. It added that it was Aregbesola that came to redeem their hope when he started paying workers’ salaries between 25th and 26th of every month and also increased salaries until economic recession set in.
The party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, who stated this in a chat with Daily Sun, added that the governor has assured that he would not owe workers and pensioners a dime before his tenure expires in November.
Oyatomi said: “So, we don’t need the intervention of a failed party to teach us how to take care of our workers. After all, they don’t have any good plan for anybody. The government of Osun and APC may not need the intervention of ‘unserious’ political gang called APC. We are not in the same category.”