- APC applauds FG’s intervention to address workers’ salaries
By Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Osun State Government yesterday said the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) did not indict it over the application of the N34.988billion bailout funds it got last year.
The government, in a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, added the fact that the ICPC claimed it was investigating claims that workers in the state received their last salaries in July 2015 was enough for workers in Osun and those who have been monitoring developments in the state to conclude that the allegation could not have been true.
“This is because after the payment of seven months backlog of salaries last year, the government had proceeded to pay salaries on the agreed terms with workers. And this is why Osun has been able to pay its workers till January this year.
“There is no case of diversion of bailout loan as far as Osun is concerned. The state was able to accommodate pensioners in the bailout loans application when in actual fact pensioners were not part of the bailout scheme. But this was agreed upon by both government and workers.
“Don’t forget also that the bailout was to take care of salaries backlog up till June last year.
“The report that Osun paid salaries last in July 2015 is laughable.
“If anything, the Osun government had demonstrated enough transparency by ensuring that the bailout loan was disbursed with adequate supervision of a committee of labour and government. Could the workers have collaborated with the government to divert such funds?” the statement asked.
The government said it was expected that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in its desperation to hang anything on Governor Rauf Aregbesola, would not study carefully what the ICPC released to the public before jumping to the conclusion that it had been vindicated.
“Rather than being vindicated, the PDP has further demonstrated its desperation. That no worker in Osun would say he has not been paid up till January 2016 rubbishes its claim of being vindicated.
“We have insisted that Aregbesola cannot be found wanting because whether in bailout funds or other funds of Osun he has been very creative in the management of the scarce resources to lift the state beyond the limit of the available resources.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has been commended for its ‘mature, responsible and compassionate’ approach to addressing the worst salary crises across states of the federation.
This commendation came as a response to the federal government’s current intervention to assist states with financial difficulties to pay their staff salaries.
In particular, the government was praised for its patriotic approach, completely devoid of partisan politics that had characterised similar situations in the past.
These sentiments were expressed by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement signed by the party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, which was made available to journalists in Osogbo.
The party said: “It takes a high degree of political maturity, responsibility and stately mind-set of compassion for political operators in our clime to act the way the federal government has done.”
According to the state APC, this crisis underlines a major fault line in the structure of our federation, which is everything but federal.
“And it particularly stands in the way of naturally endowed states from being financially solvent through developing their natural resources.
‘It will take political courage in addition to address the crisis holistically, and we are all hopeful that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government will be up to that task.
‘We have cause to be this hopeful because President Buhari’s government has shown, by this intervention, that it feels for the people and is responsible enough to show compassion when it is needed.”
The APC therefore criticised politicians who it said were urging the federal government not to help states solve their salaries’ crisis.
The party said: “Only political vultures would prey on people’s pain to score disgusting political point.
‘And when such politicians get out of their way to threaten mayhem if the federal government helped people in their states who have unbearable backlog of unpaid salaries, it portrays them as callous and grossly irresponsible.”
The party however called on citizens of Osun State as well as the security forces in the state to be on the alert so that “criminally disposed politicians who rejoice over people’s pain are stopped from actualising their murderous plans.”