Workers in Osun for the second time in less than three months on Thursday openly supported Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for second term ahead of next year’s governorship contest.
The workers, numbering over ten thousand (10, 000) under the auspices of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) noted that a governor who stopped paying half salary, who lifted the ban on their promotions and conversions after several years, who gave them minimum wage without agitation and who has continued to pay full salaries despite the challenging economic situation in the country, deserves a show of appreciation from the workers in the State; and that the only way to do that was to ensure his re-election come July, next year.
They made these known during a meeting of the Governor with the newly elected NULGE Executives, Council Managers and Heads of Departments in Local Government, Local Council Development Areas and Area Offices, held at the Muti-Purpose Hall of the Local Government Civil Service Commission, State Secretariat, Abere.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and the Joint Negotiation Council, JNC, had on May 1, openly endorsed Oyetola for another term.
Although Wednesday’s event was a NULGE affair, all the three labour leaders in the State were on hand to lend their support, with the NLC chairman, Comrade Jacob Adekomi, seizing the occasion to tell the gathering to shun insinuations that the governor would go back to half salary after returning for a second term.
The NLC Chairman held that with the landmark Supreme Court’s judgement, workers have the right to be partisan, saying “Oyetola remains our candidate as far as next year’s election is concerned. If he wants to go back to half salary, now is the time to do so because some states have cut down salaries of workers. This man is God-sent, he won’t change.”
This is even as Governor Oyetola said he would continue to govern the state with the utmost fear of God and that contrary to insinuations, all the gains so far recorded would never be reversed.
He said the welfare of workers and other citizens in the State are of topmost priority to him and his Administration, adding that the show of love to him by the workers has rekindled his hope in the project called Osun and that he would do everything to take it to greater heights.
Waxing religious, Oyetola further said, “This government is defined and ordained by God. When we say we want to do something, we do it by the inspiration of God. During the electioneering when I promised to be paying full salaries, nobody believed it and today it’s a reality because God has helped us to be able to pay full salaries.
“So, do not believe the rumour that I am paying full salary because of the second term. I have a covenant with God and I will not renege on paying full salary in my second term by the Grace of God.
“This is my first time of seeing highly intelligent and serious civil servants showing their declaration openly and I am highly impressed. Today is a day of joy and I see the sincerity of purpose, I see the joy radiating on people’s faces, it’s amazing to see that our partnership is working.
“We are all partners in Project Osun. God only made me the driver and I am committed. I thank you for this show of love and the extent to which you have endorsed me, even though it is not yet time. I thank you for this show of love. For it has rekindled my hope in Project Osun and together we are going to take the State to greater heights. This is just the beginning and our State will continue to be reckoned with in the comity states in Nigeria.”
Speaking earlier, the State President of NULGE, Comrade Nathaniel Kehinde Ogungbangbe, who lauded the Governor of the State of Osun for his role in resolving the crisis that plagued the Union at the national level, noted that the Union had experienced turbulent and hectic times in the last two years, which the Union hopes will never happen again in its history.
He described Oyetola’s intervention in the crisis, which resulted in ruins and losses valued at Two Billion Naira, as both timely and helpful.
He also described Oyetola as a tested and trusted leader, calling on workers and citizens to be wary of changing a winning formation to avoid disastrous outcomes, adding that “we are irrevocably committed to your re-election. On your mandate 4+4, we stand!”
The Head of Service, Dr Festus Olowogboyega Oyebade, also lauded Governor Oyetola for his peaceful intervention in the national crisis of NULGE, which has transformed the fortune of the Union for good.
“In the history of our Union since 1991, this is the second time our members will wear a uniform to celebrate a sitting governor, who is deserving of plaudits. He gave us double promotion, full salary, increment and minimum wage without any agitation or protest.
“We are here today in coat of many colours and rainbow of many denominations, separate but united for the progress of the Union and the progress of the State of Osun. Before now, our Union was noted for wrong reasons, but today, we are a bunch, united in spirit and dedicated to the progress of the State of Osun.
“For those wrong reasons, we lost more than Two Billion Naira at the national level to the crisis that plagued the Union. Apart from losing money, we lost our National President.
“Mr Governor, I want to say that with your timely intervention, peace has been restored to our Union, and we now have a National President.
“Our governor served as a redeemer, a beacon of hope and progress, not only to Osun but to the nation as a whole, and that is why we are here to celebrate peace, joy and blessing of a great leader”, Oyebade said.
On his part, the Chairman, Forum of Council Managers, Prince Adewale Adedapo, pointed out that since the assumption of office of Oyetola three years ago, he is known to have shown passion and good intention of transforming the lives of all citizens, including the officers of the public service.
“We are equally pledging our dedication to duty, with a view to improving Internal Generation Revenue, IGR, of our various councils and that all the entire local government workforce unanimously declare support for your second term,” Adedapo said.