As Abiodun Pays New Minimum Wage, Ogun Workers Smile to Work

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Dapo-Abiodun

Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that workers in Ogun State have sheathed their sword and embraced peace as Governor Dapo Abiodun agreed to their demands

The palpable fear and agitations, expressed by the organised labour in Ogun State, over the payment of new minimum wage, was finally allayed, as workers in the state received their October salaries reflecting the desired new minimum wage.

Unknown to the workers, the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, had instructed that the payment of N30,500 new wage be effected across board.

While lower level officers, got as much as 100% salary rise, those on higher grades got substantial increment.

Hence, the workers, having started receiving bank alerts showing the increment, began to spread the good news within and without the workforce.

Prior to the commencement of the payment of new workers’ wage, the state government had signed an MoU with the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), to effect the new mimimum wage.

The organised labour had embarked on a warning strike to press home their demands, but the strike was suspended three days later, as Abiodun-led administration demonstrated good faith and willingness to implement the new payment.

So, when the state government fulfilled its promise, workers in Ogun could not hide thier joy as they thronged the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, on Tuesday, to say “thank you” to the governor they described as “workers-friendly and promise keeper”.

Hitherto, the Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress, Ogun State Council, Comrade Emmanuel Bankole, had described the payment of new minimum wage as a commendable and welcome development. He also appreciated the governor on behalf of the entire Organized Labour in Ogun or fulfilling his promise.

Bankole added that “it is our hope that this development will open a new vista of collaboration, trust and understanding between government and labour in the state”, while reassuring the governor of the unalloyed loyalty and support of workers to his administration.

“No doubt, the payment of new minimum wage to civil and public servants will greatly motivate the workers for enhanced productivity and efficiency”, Bankole disclosed.

Also, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) unanimously described the gesture of the Ogun state government on the payment of new minimum wage to workers, as a development that will boost workers’ morale and enhance their productivity.

The Acting Chairman of TUC, Comrade Akeem Lasisi and the Chairman, JNC, Comrade Olanrewaju Folorunso, who spoke while featuring on a TV programme in Abeokuta, commended government for “demonstrating a high sense of commitment, which shows that the labour and government are partners in progress’.

They assured that workers would continue to do their best at implementing government policies and programmes, adding that Labour Unions would not relent in its effort to ensure that the workforce remained committed to the development of the State.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Establishments and Training, Mrs. Lydia Fajounbo, said the payment was a thing of joy to workers, adding that they, in turn, would justify their pay through hard work for effective service delivery.

She urged workers not to breach the trust reposed in them, but give back to the government in an impressive manner by being more dedicated, proactive and committed to duty.

Contributing, the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Service Matters, Office of the Head of Service, Mr. Dahunsi Ogunleye, appreciated government for the exceptional goodwill and motivation displayed during the various negotiations, which made the payment a reality, assuring that better service delivery would be witnessed in the Civil Service.

Ogunleye also commended government for its depth of creative thinking and futuristic approach through the creation of 5,000 jobs for the youths in the wake of the payment of the new minimum wage, pledging that the present administration would enjoy maximum cooperation of the workforce for the growth and progress of the State.

“Creation of 5,000 jobs for the youths at this time is an opportunity for growth and progress of the State by Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration which shows the depth of creative thinking and future mind of the Governor. Therefore, the people should have absolute trust and faith in the government for upward movement of the State”, Ogunleye said.

In their respective remarks, workers in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Adebimpe Olaitan and Femi Osipitan, expressed their happiness for the payment of the minimum wage, saying “it was a welcome development.”

Expressing his delight, Commander Oluwafemi Odukalu of the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Agency (TRACE) said, “to be honest, I was expecting something close to that increment but when I saw the actual amount added, I was overwhelmed because I didn’t expect that much” thanking the governor for fulfilling the promise.

On her part, Mrs. Oluwatosin Owotomo of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, appreciated the governor for keeping the promise made and for not paying lip service to the welfare of workers.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile, said “it is a good thing; the governor has promised the labour that he would pay and this is another promise made and promise kept.”

Odusile added: “The government of Dapo Abiodun will always take the welfare of workers seriously, just as it is committed to the welfare of all residents and indigenes of the state”. He thereafter enjoined workers to be up and doing and dedicated to their work in order to have the Ogun state of their dreams.

The medical doctors in the employment of the Ogun State government, applauded the governor for approving and implementing “proper remunerations” for them and for the practical steps taken to reposition the health sector for efficient healthcare delivery to the people of the state.

The doctors, under the auspices of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners and Association of Resident Doctors, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, who had paid a visit to the governor at his ofrice on Monday, said they had come on a “thank-you” visit to him.

Speaking, the ex-officio and National Chairman of the Association, Dr. Odusote Rafiu, appreciated Abiodun, saying the gesture would spur the doctors to put in their best rendering efficient service to the people.

On his part, the President of Resident Doctors, OOUTH, Dr. Mutiu Popoola, recalled the deplorable state of the Teaching Hospital before the coming of the present administration. He said that the recruitment of doctors and other medical professionals and provision of basic medical equipment, was a clear demonstration of government determination to return the health institution to great shape.

Responding, Abiodun, described health as one of the priority sectors of his administration, noting the people needed to be healthy to function effectively in any capacity they find themselves.

The governor, who decried the poor condition he met the OOUTH, Sagamu, on assuming office, explained that the recruitment of doctors and other health workers was to address the staff deficit, while the procurement of medical equipment was to urgently see to the needs of the hospital.

He said the Board that would steer the ship and take the hospital to desired destination, would soon be inaugurated.

Abiodun, however, expressed delight that things were getting better for the Ilaro General Hospital as a result of government intervention on medical equipment and good access roads.

“It is important to mention that I am, on behalf of this administration, 100 percent committed to ensuring that we will provide a conducive environment for you to function at your peak and also ensure that it is supported with welfare package.

“I hope that going forward, we will continue to relate and interact in such a manner that if there is any issue that arises by way of misunderstanding or on demands that have not been met, it should be handled in a way that it does not lead to a breakdown of services rendered”, Abiodun stated.

He appreciated the doctors for their selfless service to the state during the COVID-19, pointing out that the pandemic has negatively affected the state finances.

Addressing the excited workers, who gathered at the Arcade Ground, Abiodun promised that he would ensure Ogun state workers continue to enjoy better welfare package and seamless promotion, saying he would continue to adhere to equity and fairness in appointment and promotion of deserving public officers.

He reitrtated that appointment, promotion and career advancement would be merit-based as favouritism would no longer be entertained in the state civil service.

He described the state workforce as the best in service delivery in the country, adding that the state has produced world class civil servants who have made headway in different parts of the world.

“No nation or state can achieve any meaningful development without workers who are well motivated to perform optimally. We will continue to constantly and regularly pay our workers salary and other benefits to enable them discharge their duties efficiently.

“I know that there has been a breach of trust in the past between the government and the workers. On our part, we will continue to build trust with you. There should be no mistrust or misunderstanding between us. You are the essence of this administration. I can assure you that we will continue to engage you and I am happy that the trust is being restored”, Abiodun declared.

While calling for patience, understanding and renewed vigour in service delivery, the governor further assured workers that other demands and entitlements would be met as the finances of the state improves.

Earlier, the Head of Service, Alhaja Selimot Ottun, maintained that government has well-thought-out welfare programmes for the workers, saying the state workforce was poised to improve the Internally Generated Revenue through efficient services to the people.

Representatives of the NIgerin Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), lauded government team at the negotiation table for showing uncommon commitment that led to the implementation of the new minimum wage in the state.

QUOTE

Creation of 5,000 jobs for the youths at this time is an opportunity for growth and progress of the State by Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration which shows the depth of creative thinking and future mind of the Governor. Therefore, the people should have absolute trust and faith in the government for upward movement of the State”, Ogunleye said. In their respective remarks, workers in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Adebimpe Olaitan and Femi Osipitan, expressed their happiness for the payment of the minimum wage, saying “it was a welcome development