FEATURE ARTICLE

Folorunso OladipupoMonday, July 28, 2014
folorunsooladipupo@yahoo.com


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OPEN LETTER TO MY STATE GOVERNOR, SEN. ABIOLA AJIMOBI OF OYO STATE (PART 3 OF 8)

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Continued from Part 2

Your Excellency,

his section of the letter addresses the government's disconnection with the people and the poor remuneration of civil servants. As a governor, disconnection with the people does not necessarily mean direct contact with the people. It is not practicable or possible to have direct contact with the entire 6.5 million inhabitants of the state or the 2.6 million registered voters even with the available electronic and social media. Your planned mode of improving this by attending Jumat services in every zones of the state is ill planned and unnecessary. I was at the Oyo Jumat prayer on July 18th with you for its take off. Comments at the side of the Jumat did not favor this administration. I am sure the Shaki story will be alike.

Connection with the people and the voters is measured by the government's responsiveness to the needs and the aspiration of the people. Although we all know that the Ekiti election was reportedly lost partly due to non provision of "stomach infrastructure" for the people. The interpretation of "stomach infrastructure" in Ekiti is that there are social infrastructures, Roads, Water, Hospital, Schools, etc but the people are hungry. The people saw these infrastructures everywhere but the infrastructures cannot put food on their tables or in their stomachs. Thanks to the Ekiti debacle. We now have a new vocabulary in our political lexicon "stomach structure". The proverb support for the new lexicon is "A hungry man is an angry man".

My dear governor, our approach to address the stomach infrastructure as you instructed the 33 council chairmen between Wednesday 16/7/14 and Saturday 19/07/14 was just a cosmetic and palliative measure. Most chairmen distributed rice, beans and garri to those who are gullible enough to accept them. These products cannot feed the recipients for a week. If I may ask, what purpose will this one-day gift serve?

What the people like as stomach infrastructure is good job, good salary on the job, regular promotion on the job, regular payment of salary while suppliers and contractors want decent contracts where they will be able to feed their family, pay for health care and educate their families within the acceptable social level. To the general public, they want the government to provide them with an enabling environment to practice any trade or vocation of their choices in a profitable and rewarding manner.

At the time of conducting the governorship election in Ekiti, the remuneration of her civil servants was well above what is being paid in Oyo state. As a matter of truth, Oyo state NLC was begging to be paid what Ekiti workers were earning under Fayemi. Last year, The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Oyo state chapter presented the salary scale of 5 states to you (One of the 5 states is Ekiti) for your government to pick one and use for them. Up till now, our government has not reverted to them. Our workforce is so fed up that they decided not to ask for salary increment again under this administration.

One of the NLC state executive members told me they decided not to ask for salary review again because they will take their pound of flesh during the next election. A senior civil servant in Oyo state once say the difference between his salary and that of his colleague in Ogun state (on the same job and the same level) was over N50, 000. Apart from this, teachers in Oyo State pay for the chalk, pens, class registers and other school supplies while teachers in Ekiti, Osun, Ogun and other states were receiving theirs from government.

I was amazed with the account of stewardship of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state. His actions and performance is a typical example of required stomach infrastructure .He is obviously in touch with the people. He stated what his government has been able to provide for his people with about N 4.0 billion monthly allocation ( about the same amount with Oyo State) as: built 27 general hospitals, built 205 schools, built 1,000 kilometers of road, free education from primary school to university, free school feeding, transformation of major cities, Oorlu, Okigbwe and Owerri. What can we compare to these physical infrastructures before we start talking of stomach infrastructure in Oyo state?

The fate of Oyo state pensioners and retirees are worse. In Ekiti, Imo and most states, they get paid on time. My dear governor, our administration is hiding under the pending legal case against the stolen pension fund (just as we are hiding under legal impediments of OYSIEC) to punish our pensioners. Anytime you are asked, you are quick to say the money has been stolen. If I may ask, whose responsibility is it to pay the pensions, is it the government or the accused that were alleged to have stolen the money and are now facing the charges? What do you think we can do to convince these suffering retirees and their family members to vote for us in the coming election? Must they die in suffering because the previous government was so careless and fraud friendly to have allowed the money stolen from its bank?

In the name of Almighty Allah (PBOH) and the spirit of the ending holy month of Ramadan, I will beg you to allow your milk of kindness to flow to our workers and pensioners. The same milk and honey should be allowed to flow to the contractors currently owed by the state. This is the only solution to put smiles on the faces of these people. In the record of stewardship of Rochas Okorocha mentioned above, he claimed to be injecting about N1.5 billion which he was statutorily required to receive as security vote yearly back to the state to meet the needs of the people. If he is doing this, I beg you to please forgo your N200 million naira monthly allocation to move the state forward.

Similar to the above, I will like to advise you to use the multi million Naira you plan to inject into building a new palace , stadium and other things for Ikubabayeye in paying salaries of workers and pensioners who are dying for the nonpayment of their gratuities and pensions. What use will a new palace and stadium serve Alafin and Oyo people when their pensioners are dying?

To be Continued…………………………..

Yours truly,

Folorunso Oladipupo

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