Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has joined workers of the state civil service on indefinite strike. Fayose said the solidarity strike became expedient to show concerns with the workers, who have been on strike for more than a week.
The governor gave the declaration in Ado Ekiti at the weekend in a televised broadcast shown on media based in Ekiti State. In the broadcast he said he had paid the January salaries of local government workers, primary school teachers and subventions to tertiary institutions in the state.
The workers under the auspices of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), had last week Wednesday called out workers for indefinite strike, when it was apparent that the governor has allegedly not been responding positively to their yearnings.
The Chairmen of TUC, Com Odunayo Adesoye, NLC, Com. Ade Adesanmi and JNC Secretary, Blessing Oladele, were particularly irked by the statement credited to Fayose, averring that he won’t sell his family to pay workers, describing the statement as ‘not only insensitive but inflammatory”.
All entreaties by Fayose and stakeholders, including the speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Kola Oluwawole, who held a meeting with leadership of trade unions on Friday to placate the striking labour unions were futile, as the labour leaders insisted that negotiation could only happen when salaries are paid.
But Fayose in the broadcast declared solidarity with the workers to confirm that he shared their pains and anguish caused by inability to pay salary.
The governor was explicit that what he has been declaring as amount accruing to the State as internally generated revenue and the N2.6 billion workers’ wage bill were true positions of the state finances.
“I want to tell workers that I have placed myself on indefinite strike in solidarity with you. I shared your pains, but it was rather unfortunate that a man can’t give what he doesn’t have.
“I have told you the true position of the finances of the state, of which you had played critical roles in allocation of federal allocations to relevant sectors which shows how well I had carried you along since the dwindling revenue to the state commenced.
“During my first term, I mean, 2003 to 2006, I used to pay salary of workers by 21st of every month. But the present situation is very unfortunate and we have to learn how to live with it until the country wriggle out of it and things will change for better.
“I want to say that I will be expecting you back to your offices when you are ready to return to work. I shall be expecting you, because presently I am handicapped and there is nothing I can do.
“But before then, I have placed myself on indefinite strike in solidarity with your course. But I appeal that you put the interest of the state above everything, because the present position affects everybody,” Fayose said.