I have forgiven erring principals, students —Ajimobi

•…Asks workers to get set for restructuring

Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on Thursday, accepted the apology of principals and students of the 17 secondary schools in Ibadan fingered for their involvement in the June 6 students’ protest against the new education initiative on management of schools, saying “I have forgiven them.”

The principals of the 17 secondary schools were led to the governor’s office by the leadership of the Ibadan Progressive Union (IPU) and state chapter of the All Nigerian Conference of Principals (ANCOPPS), Oyo State chapter.

Ajimobi noted that the request for an apology was to make those concerned to realise the import of their actions and to serve as a deterrent against future occurrence.

“The principals of the 17 affected schools have come to apologise for the misdemeanour perpetrated by their students. I have forgiven them because to err is man and to forgive, divine.”

“The government or I stood to gain nothing from the apology by the principals and students. But it’s our responsibility as parents and grandparents to make them realise the negative trend the actions would have caused if not nipped in the bud.

“If we choose to remain silent over the delinquent behaviours and excesses of our youths today, the grave repercussion will come back to haunt us tomorrow. The children are still in their formative years and we need to let them know when they cross the line of decency and good behaviour.”

“I want to appreciate the intervention of members of the IPU that facilitated the reconciliation and I want to say again that I have forgiven them and accepted their apology.”

IPU President, Mr Johnson Adeniji, thanked Ajimobi for his large heart evident in his acceptance of the apology tendered by the affected principals.

Adeniji added that the state government’s gesture would further enhance the relationship between government and the players in the education sector.

In his remarks, Chairman, ANCOPPS, state chapter, Mr Ranti Obafunso, assured that such ugly occurrence would not repeat itself.

Meanwhile, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, on Thursday, hinted of a restructuring and assessment of the state’s workforce aimed at enhancing workers’ productivity and government’s ability to pay salaries.

Ajimobi, speaking at the Ajumose Food Programme of his wife, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, said the restructuring would involve an evaluation of the size of the workforce to ensure that resources available to the state can adequately cater for its wage bill.

Ajimobi said these measures would engender functionality and efficiency in the affairs of the state.

He chided those notions that the state government was not factual about its monthly wage bill disclosure, which he said had been verified by the labour movement during negotiations that led to the suspension of the recent strike.

“We have been vindicated with our position that our monthly wage bill is N5.2 billion. The workers have seen it. Many states cannot pay salaries. But with what we are putting in place, we will restructure, we will assess people. There must be productivity.

“Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who is an experienced and effective president, even said we need to restructure our workforce. We need to make each state more functional, more efficient and more productive. We have too many workers who are not doing anything. We need to sit down and talk to them. People have seen that we told the truth when we said salaries and wages amount to N5.2 billion. We told them that we do not have money and that we will give them 100 per cent of the money we have. Today, they have seen it. Irrespective of the strike, it is the same money we would have paid them that we are paying them now.

“Oyo State will develop the more as long as we are honest with each other. The more we tell the truth, the more we let facts rule us and the more we allow intellectualism and knowledge-based economy to grow. This governor is an honest governor and no matter the evil machinations of people, we will make Oyo State great.