NLC Leaders vs Seyi Makinde — A battle of egos by Seye Eyitayo

Something weird happened in Oyo State yesterday. It was akin to the Jews spreading their clothes on the streets one day, shouting, “Save We Pray,” the next day, they screamed ‘Crucify him”. We saw pictures of scores of Oyo State workers outside the secretariat at Ibadan and headlines saying Oyo Workers were protesting over palliatives and other benefits. Many right-thinking people have wondered how this is possible, as Governor Seyi Makinde is well known for putting workers’ welfare first.

First, let it be clear that Oyo State Workers did not go on strike, nor were they protesting yesterday. Rather, some leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Trade Union Congress (TUC) and some other bodies, who have for some time been determined to tarnish the records of Governor Seyi Makinde regarding workers’ welfare, finally exploited a loophole. They decided to ride on a “national protest” for palliatives and hardship to score a cheap political point.

In the various stories they put out, they claimed that they were demanding “an upward review of pension allowances and payment of salary deduction.” They were also asking for “payment of leave bonuses, gratuities to retirees who have stagnated since the year 2021 and release of promotion letters for the years 2021 and 2022.”
It is clear that these union leaders were looking for excuses to carry out their politically motivated protest. They tried the same in January 2021, making exactly the same demands, but then as now, they got minimal support from the workers themselves. The reason is not far-fetched. Oyo State workers know that they never had it so good.

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Governor Seyi Makinde rescued all Oyo State Workers from being owed for months or paid in percentages. He also lifted the embargo on promotions and even restored persons who were witch-hunted out of office. Since May 2019, the 25th day of every month has remained GSM Day, when workers are paid without fail. He also consistently paid the 13th month’s salary for four years. Last year, he even added a bonus of N10,000 for pensioners because he understood their plight.

The question is, are these demands by the NLC genuine? Well, they asked for an upward review of pensioners’ salaries. When you hear that some pensioners are earning N1,000 a month, it is because they retired at a time when their salaries were N1,000. You can also imagine what year that was and how many of those pensioners are still alive. You will then understand that they are just using these few pensioners as a cover. What they are asking for is that all pensioners who retired before 2020, when the minimum wage in Oyo State became N30,000, should have their pensions adjusted to match this increase.

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They do not care whether the state can afford the increase. They do not care if this will mean that the salaries will not even be paid. All they want is a blanket increase. Already, Oyo State has a wage bill of over N7 billion monthly. The issue of LGAs being unable to carry out as many projects as they should is directly linked to meeting the obligation of paying salaries. How reasonable is it to be insisting on an increase at this time?

Regarding leave bonuses and the release of promotion letters, just last week, on July 25, 2023, over 2,000 promotion letters for 2021 were released, and approval was given for over 600 officers to be converted under various cadres of the civil service of Oyo State.

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It should be put on record that the attitude of Oyo State workers towards their Governor has not changed. The real reason their leadership went on a rampage yesterday was that they demanded a meeting with Governor Seyi Makinde himself, even though they had met with the Head of Service.

The NLC is only reacting like a woman scorned. Their egos have led them to believe that no government official is good enough to liaise with them.

And for those who want to know, the pictures seen yesterday were of workers who showed up for work only to discover they were locked out of the secretariat. It was not workers rallying around the NLC and their politically motivated calls.

Governor Seyi Makinde’s street credibility as the darling of Oyo State workers still remains intact, no matter what the headlines say.

Seye Eyitayo is a social commentator. He writes from Ibadan, Oyo State


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Oyo Affairs is an independent news media with the main focus on Oyo state news, politics, current events, trending happenings within and around Oyo state, Nigeria

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