APPROVAL OF MINIMUM WAGE FOR OSUN WORKERS:
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
72 hours ago, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun broke the much-awaited good news of approval of minimum wage of #30,000 Naira to the people of the state, most especially the civil servants who had for long awaited this heart-warming development. Members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress across Osun held their heads high-up, basking in the euphoria of Governor Oyetola’s promises kept. This, to an average politician is a positive development that party thrives on.
In Governor Oyetola’s speech delivered in Osogbo on Monday, 2nd November, 2020 and made available to the press, he said “Additionally, we have lifted the ban on annual salary increment which was done in 2012, embargo on promotions and conversions is also lifted with immediate effect. This is in fulfillment of our administration’s pledge to give the welfare of our workers the deserved attention…” Arguably, Osun is a civil-service state and therefore any good deed done for civil servants definitely has multiplier effect on the people.
However, while Governor Oyetola’s action has continued to be applauded by all and sundry, it is important to correct some fundamental errors committed by the writer of Mr. Governor’s speech; the claim that embargo was placed on promotion and yearly advancement since 2012 is grossly incorrect and quite misleading. Throughout the first term of former Governor Aregbesola, promotions and yearly advancement were appropriately effected as at when due. During that time, the State of Osun was financially viable to the extent that the period witnessed an unprecedented record of payment of 13th month salary to the entire workforce in the state, both those in civil and public service. Additionally, recruitment into the civil service and teaching service was implemented during the period. Therefore, it is purely against simple logic, and even the labour unions would have frowned against acts that could have promoted non-fundamentals as against fundamental procedures.
Putting records in appropriate perspectives, it was in year 2015 when the financial status of the state dwindled that certain measures were taken in line with the financial challenges facing the state as at that time, in the best interest of everyone. Part of the proactive measures taken in 2015 include,
• Placing embargo on promotion, yearly increment, and conversion.
• Modulated salary payment; full salary to workers on Grade Level 1-7, and 50% to all other category of workers.
In arriving at the decisions, government constituted a committee including labour unions and the government under the Chairmanship of the then Chief of Staff, now Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola. Majority of the labour leaders privy to the agreement then are still in the leadership of the unions till now, and the agreement reached was based on the financial reality of the state as at the said time, but with a condition that the agreement would be reviewed as the state financial status improves. However, in year 2017, when there were noticeable improvement in the finances of the state, the status of modulated salary was reviewed and the percentage of salary for Grade Level 8 to 10 was increased from 50% to 75% while that of workers in Grade level 12 and above remained at 50%.
From the above statement, it is an error on the part of the speech writer of the Governor to have claimed that, the embargo on promotion, conversion, and yearly increment started in 2012 when actually it came into effect in 2015 after it was duly negotiated and agreed upon by a committee under the Chairmanship of the Governor as then the Chief of Staff to former Governor Aregbesola.
Another erroneous statement by the speech writer is the impression that it is the current administration that started the payment of full salary. This information is not only incorrect; it is misleading, deceitful, and a distortion of fact. Payment of full salary commenced in July, 2018 during the administration of former Governor Aregbesola till the expiration of his second term in office, and sustained by the current administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola who has been delivering on his promises steadily.
Conclusively, it is important to advise and task people, especially public office holders against peddling misinformation, as this could mislead and disorientate citizens from assessing fact, figures and correct data.
God Bless Governor Gboyega Oyetola,
God Bless the State of Osun,
God Bless Nigeria.