THE financial crisis which has put Osun, the Home of the Living Spring, into a state of disrepute is yet to fizzle out, ENCOMIUM Weekly can authoritatively reveal.
An impeccable source disclosed to ENCOMIUM Weekly that the number one man in the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is, at the moment, planning to downsize the work force. And this may affect about 10,000 out of the state’s 40,000 workers, mainly senior civil servants. Not only that, some of the top office holders in the state ministries and parastatals will also have their salaries slashed by not less than 25 per cent.
These measures, we were told, are to enable the state ease itself of the salary burden occasioned by inadequate revenue.
“Things are still no longer at ease in Osun State concerning the salary crisis. Despite the fact that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has directed the state civil servants to return to work, some are still adamant. But some have complied for fear of being sacked because it’s obvious that heads must roll in the state very soon.
“I learnt Governor Aregbesola has it in his agenda to sack about 10,000 workers soon because the state can’t generate enough revenue to continue paying salaries of over 40,000 workers again and not much is coming into the state from the Federal Government purse. So, the need to relieve some workers of their jobs is imminent.
“Not only that, I also learnt the governor is planning a salary cut of not less than 25 per cent of top officials in the state civil service. About 40,000 workers, and its federal allocation is nothing to write home about now. The state has not finished paying back its loan. It’s yet to receive the bailout by the Federal Government. So, the state is left with no option than to sack some workers, especially those that are about to retire.
“It’s on the lips of the workers in Osun at the moment that heads will soon roll, and that has created palpable fear within the civil service. I learnt that’s one of the reasons some of the workers reluctantly resumed work on Monday, August 10, 2015. No one knows how it’s going to happen or the exact time, but it’s certain that some people will be asked to leave soon.”
One of the aggrieved workers, Mr. Azeez, who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly on Saturday, August 15, 2015, neither confirmed nor denied the story, adding that all workers in the state have handed over the governor to God.
“There is nothing we can do if Aregbesola has decided to sack us on account of our protest against non-payment of our salaries. As I speak, the Osun State Government will be owing us seven months’ salaries. Those of us on Level 8 and above were paid only half salary in January. Also, we were paid half in February, while local government workers on level 8 and above received half of both March and April salaries. So, what are we talking about? And the government is still threatening us.
“It’s true, some of us resumed work on Monday, August 10, 2015, on the directive of NLC. But that doesn’t mean work has resumed fully in the state. It’s still skeletal sort of. And it’s not mandatory for anybody to come to work. If you like you may come, and if you don’t feel comfortable, you can stay at home. No one harasses anybody for not coming to work.
“On the alleged plan by Aregbesola to sack protesting workers, I can’t say it’s true or not because no official indication concerning that yet. For now, it’s only in the corridor of rumour. People are truly discussing it, we’re yet to know the truth about that. But whatever it is, we have handed over the governor and his people to God. All I know is that, we won’t die of hunger if we’re sacked.”
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s efforts to get Aregbesola’s reaction on the issue, via his Director of Bureau de Publicity, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon were all abortive as all the calls put through to his mobile line were not picked. We also sent him a text, all to no avail.
However, a prominent All Progressives Congress (APC) member in the state, Mr. Wole Adegbenjo, who reacted to the tale said, “It’s not true that Governor Aregbesola wants to sack about 10,000 workers because the state can no longer pay the salaries of civil servants or because of the strike by the workers which crippled social and economic activities of the state for months. Aregbesola is not that kind of a leader.
“I think people are only trying to misinterpret the situation of things in the state at the moment. What I learnt the governor is trying to do is to cross check the files of all the top civil servants in the state and find out those who are due for retirement.
“The truth is that some have been in the state civil service since the old Oyo State, and the government may have decided to retire some that have spent 30 years and above, not below, in civil service and those that are above 60. And by calculation, those that fall within these two categories maybe up to 10,000. I think those are the people that will go. Also, there may be reduction in the salaries of top government officials in the state to minimize the running cost. But no official statement has been issued on that yet.”
– TADE ASIFAT