By Victor Ogunje
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has appealed to striking doctors in the state to be patriotic and call off their industrial action to prevent being forced to invoke the no work, no pay rule.
Fayemi said he felt more distraught realising that many workers, who got promoted five years ago have not enjoyed financial benefits of such elevation, adding that: “It wasn’t my style and intention to deprive people of their legitimate entitlements.”
The governor also clarified that only students in SS3 class preparing for West African Examinations Council (WAEC) will resume on Monday, August 10, preparatory to their examinations.
Fayemi said this in a statewide broadcast Wednesday transmitted by all broadcasting stations domiciled in Ekiti.
Fayemi regretted that there had been a progressive spike in the number of Covid-19 cases recorded between July and now in Ekiti, which cumulative number of victims now stands at 152.
The governor appealed to the striking doctors, under the auspices of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) to end the strike in the interest of the poor citizens.
‘We can always collect arrears of unpaid allowances, but a life lost cannot be reversed. That is why I should like to call on the doctors to take the patriotic route like other health workers and the organised labour for an immediate end to the needless strike.
“I do not want to be put in a situation where I have to invoke the no work, no pay in Ekiti,” he warned.
Commending the labour leaders for being patriotic, Fayemi stated: “Two days ago, the leadership of the organised labour comprising Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiation Council also embarked on a warning strike which they immediately called off after engaging with government.
“For instance, I am pained in my heart that people who got promoted since about five years ago have not enjoyed the corresponding financial benefits.
These are things which give me great pain and which I am absolutely committed to assuaging their feelings.”
Laying premises for his inability to pay, Fayemi said Ekiti had consistently received from the Federation Account, an average of N3 billion in the last six months with a monthly wage bill of N2.8 billion.
“Apart from the fact that our monthly federally received allocation has plummeted considerably because of low crude prices and offtake, our internally generated revenue has gone worse as many businesses that should pay taxes are themselves under different government supports to stay afloat,” he said.
On the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Fayemi thanked Ekiti people for their prayers, solidarity, calls, messages and goodwill during the period of his isolation and treatment for the pandemic.
“I thank God that I am now certified free of the virus after 10 days of isolation and treatment. The fact I could contract the virus in spite of the conscious effort to protect myself and people around me underscores my consistent warnings that we should never take things for granted,” he said.
Fayemi said that after thorough precautionary preparations, he was glad to inform the people that schools can now open for the SS3 students who are expected to resume next Monday, August 10, while their teachers are already in school preparatory to their resumption.
The governor disclosed that government has fumigated all the public schools and work is ongoing to clear the bushes so as to ensure the environment is clean and conducive for learning.
Fayemi extended condolences to the families of Ekiti departed icons like the late Second Republic Senator, Chief Ayo Fasanmi; ex-presidential Adviser on Education, Chief Ayo Babalola; and former Group Managing Director, Odua Group of Companies, Remi Omostoso, over the death of these illustrious sons.