The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State Chapter, has faulted the analysis by the state government of its finances and inadequacies to pay salaries regularly, especially the claim of having a monthly wage bill of N5.2 billion in the past one year.
Chairman of the labour union, Mr Waheed Olojede, described the analysis of the wage bill released by the state government as misleading.
The state government, through the Commissioner for Finance and Budget, Mr Bimbo Adekanmbi, had last Thursday, reiterated that the inflow to the state in the past one year averaged N3billion monthly as against a wage bill of N5.2billion.
Adekanmbi had explained that the state got a federal allocation of N37.044 billion in the past 12 months but still had a deficit of N29 billion in paying salaries.
Olojede argued that the state government announced the N5.2billion wage bill when the state had commissioners, aides, among other political appointees, and the same wage bill continued to be quoted despite the non-appointment of political office holders for about one year, until recently.
Substantiating the union’s argument, Olojede made reference to the N17.3 billion bailout fund of the Federal Government which the state used to clear four months arrears of salaries in 2015.
“I consider the analysis of the wage bill released by the state government as misleading. And I want to say that government’s claim to N5.2 billion monthly wage bill is not the true position of the workers’ wage bill in the state, especially in recent times.”
Also, stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) across the 14 local governments in Ibadan/Ibarapa zone of Oyo State have declared solidarity with the labour union in the state over their “genuine demands” from the state government, urging the state government to pay “the over six months’ salaries being owed these workers.”
The stakeholders said this in a statement signed by Honourable Muideen Inakoju and Mr Nurudeen Oke, at the end of a meeting held at the Jogor Events Centre, Ibadan.
Meanwhile, apparently worried by the continued face-off between the Labour and Oyo State government, at least 25 leading women drawn from different walks of life have called on the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, to intervene in the matter.
The women groups, led by Professor Mrs Adetoun Ogunseye and Chief Bola Doherty, amongst others, lamented the continued face-off and the effects on the society, saying as the father of all, with no affiliation towards any political party or ideological persuasion, the 87-year old monarch was in a better position to bring about amicable resolution of the crisis between the duo.
Chief Doherty said, ‘As mothers, we are not comfortable with the on-going labour crisis in Oyo State and its effects on the society. Workers not going to work, school children and teachers not going to school are not pleasant things. As non-governmental organisations, comprising women from many organisations such as FIDA, FOMWAN, NCWS, YWCA, AGES and others, we believe that only a monarch of your standing, with no partisan commitment towards any political party could intervene in this matter.
Responding, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, said that he would not be tired of wading into the Oyo State government/Labour face-off until the conflict was amicably resolved. According to the first class monarch, while no one was out to apportion blame to either of the warring parties, the continued non-attendance of students and teachers in schools was giving everyone a cause for concern.
He expressed the hope that he would contact the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the Labour leaders as soon as possible with a view to resolving the dispute, that peace might reign supreme in the land again.