…promises to keep working hard to grow State’s economy
…as Govt holds New Year inter-religious service
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Wednesday that no staff in the State’s workforce would earn below the N30,000 national minimum wage.
He stated that once the Committee set up by his government to look into the modalities for the implementation of the wage completes its assignment, the Government will stand side by side with the workers to implement the decision.
The Governor noted that he was looking forward to a decision that would be agreeable to the civil servants as well as affordable and sustainable for the State government.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the Governor made the declarations during the annual inter-religious service to usher in the 2020 working year, held at the Car Park of the Governor’s Office.
The Governor also urged every resident of the State to join hands, put political affiliation and tribal sentiments aside to keep making Oyo State greater.
At the service, which was attended by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan; the Chief of Staff, Chief Oyebisi Ilaka; the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, political appointees and civil servants, the Head of Service, Mrs. Amidat Ololade Agboola, maintained that 2019 was filled with challenges but that God had counted those in attendance at the event worthy to see a New Year.
Agboola, who welcomed political office holders and workers to the service, maintained that it was in 2019 that God blessed Oyo State with a Governor like Makinde, whom she described as god-sent to the civil servants.
According to the Head of Service, the Governor has shown what leadership entailed: selflessness, even as she appreciated the Governor for demonstrating commitment to workers’ welfare and the repositioning of the civil/public service in the State.
She cited the payment of salaries as and when due since the administration took office, noting that the general public in the State had been sharing in happiness engendered by that act.
She also commended the Governor for giving the approval for the reinstatement of some officers in the civil/public service who were unjustly dismissed by the last administration; approval for Productivity/Merit Award to recognize the hard work of civil servants and the approval of N15 million for the renovation of offices in each of the ministries in the Secretariat Complex, among other areas.
She, therefore, charged civil servants to rise to the occasion by contributing their best quota towards developing the State, calling on them to give room for innovative ideas and a new way of doing things in the New Year.
In his speech, Governor Makinde maintained that though the administration was less than a year in office, it has causes to be thankful to God, because it has continued to enjoy tremendous goodwill, adding that it would not take the loyalty from the people for granted, as it will put in its best for the good of the people of the State in the New Year.
Governor Makinde, who gave thanks to God for some of the remarkable feats achieved by the Government in 2019, citing the increased funding to education, ongoing renovation and equipment of hospitals as well as the expansion of the State’s economy through investments in agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and infrastructure, among others, promised to continue on the path to growing and developing the State in the New Year.
He said: “As we gather here this morning for this inter-religious service to usher in a new working year, it is the best time for each one of us to reflect on our accomplishments last year and then plan how to become better versions of ourselves this year.
“Our elders say that as we travel through the forest, we must always shake the trees so that people who are watching can quickly tell the distance we have travelled. This administration has been here for less than a year but the expectations that the people have of us is enormous. But we should be thankful that we have been enjoying the tremendous goodwill from the people and we must never take their loyalty for granted. We must remain at the top of our game and put in our best for the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
“When the Imam of the Government House was admonishing us, he emphasised that we must not do three major things; not to divulge secrets, not to give wrong information and we should not talk evil of ourselves, but people do all these three things.
“Someone even said that he was the governor of yesterday and I am the governor of today and that tomorrow’s governor will also come to rule. But I am surprised, because I doubt if that former Governor remembered he would one day leave office when he was on the governor’s seat.
“And in the sermon we just listened to, we have been implored to do all things with the fear of God. So, because I know that another governor will rule tomorrow, I will do things with the fear of God.”
Governor Makinde, who used the occasion to commiserate with all victims of fire incidents across the State, warned civil servants and residents of the State to work towards preventing fire disasters in their personal lives by setting smart goals and planning adequately in the New Year.
He further said: “In a way, we also want to prevent personal fires in our lives this year and the best way to do that is by setting smart goal. So, we need to plan. Let us all set goals that will be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. And that is being SMART. We should plan now so that when we meet for the next inter-denominational service, we will be able to look back as we are looking back at 2019 now, and have a cause to be thankful.”
The Governor added: “Some people have said that all the things we have done in seven months are just cosmetic. Well, we are thankful for the progress in our education system. We have increased funding for the sector and we have been able to get some children off the street. We still have a lot more to do in this sector and we still believe that 2020 will be a good year for education in Oyo State.
“We are also thankful for the improvement in health care, as we have renovated and equipped some hospitals and started with the Health Insurance Scheme. It is my belief that civil servants and others will take the advantage of this scheme so that they do not have to pay out of pocket for health care.
“The Jericho Specialist Hospitals has been moved to a new location, which is bigger and spacious. And that is not cosmetic.
“We are thankful that the streets of Ibadan are now well lit up. We will extend the project to all major cities in the State this year. We are also taking steps to ensure the safety of lives and property for all living within the borders of Oyo State. Some palaces and markets have also been lit.
“We are also thankful for expanding the economy of Oyo State and it is our belief that we can use investment in agriculture, small and medium size enterprises and infrastructure to keep growing the economy. We will keep focusing on addressing the challenges that the SMEs in Oyo State face, especially multiple taxation.”
Addressing the issue of the N30,000 minimum wage, Governor Makinde assured the civil service in the State on his Government’s resolve to stand side by side with them to arrive at a point that would be agreeable to the workers as well as affordable and sustainable for the State, saying: “On the new minimum wage, the committee has been set up, they are working and moving towards alignment but I promise you that this administration and the workers of Oyo State are on the same page on this ongoing negotiation. And when it is concluded, I give you the assurance that we shall stand side-by-side to announce to the whole world what we have agreed. “Whatever we will agree upon is going to be in the interest of the workers and our state. First, our collective decision will be agreeable to everybody. Second, it will be affordable. Third, it will be sustainable.
“Before this administration came into place on May 29, they were paying percentages as subvention to the higher institutions. “Just a month before the previous administration left, they moved it to 100 per cent and we have been paying it since we came in. I know that they do have agreement in some states and will still breach the agreement. But, here, once we sign that agreement, we will pay it.
“We won’t pay in percentages and I want to also state categorically that no worker in Oyo State will earn below the national minimum wage.”
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde
Inclusive Foundation Mourns Veteran Actress, Rachael Oniga
Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has expressed its heartfelt sympathy to family, friends and the entire movie industry over the loss of the veteran actress, Rachael Oniga who died at age 64.
The CEO of the foundation, Chief (Mrs.) Pat Eleto, in a condolence visit to the family, on Saturday, July 31st, said the news came as a rude shock to many, but she believes that the late actress has created a great impact with her career, and her legacy should never be forgotten.
In her statement, Chief (Mrs.)Eleto said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I grief with the family of a sister, friend and adviser of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
“Mrs. Oniga, is one of our great ambassadors, and we were actually working on a project that is meant for the later part of this year when the sad news of her demise came.
“Death is inevitable, we pray for the repose of her soul, and may God comfort all the people she left behind. We also hope and pray that all her good legacies, be sustained because, she was indeed a pillar of support to our foundation, and also one of veterans that contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood,” the statement reads.
A native of Delta State, Oniga was one of the ambassadors of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
Alaafin Shuns Ooni-Backed Group Over Alleged Anti-Buhari Posture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Friday, at the last minute, allegedly cancelled an appointment he gave to a Yoruba group, Ooni’s Caucus, on the alleged complaint that members of the group are “notorious critics” of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Ooni’s Caucus, which was inaugurated at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on July 20, 2021, is made of many influential Yoruba persons and is being coordinated by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
PUNCH learnt that Osuntokun led about 14 members of the group to Alaafin’s palace for the alleged 11am appointment on Friday, but after waiting for about two and a half hours, the influential monarch sent words to them that he would not be seeing them.
According to a source, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, some of the group’s members who went to Alaafin’s palace with Osuntokun were a monarch, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao; a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe; a former commissioner in Osun State, Muyiwa Ige; a former Minister of Defence, Mrs Dupe Adelaja; a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, Oye Oyewumi, Sola Lawal, among others.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is also said to be a member of Ooni’s Caucus, but he was not on the delegation to Alaafin’s palace on Friday.
The source, who is a member of the group, claimed that the group had through the Olugbon secured an appointment with Alaafin since Monday, and the same appointment was confirmed on Thursday, only for them to get to the palace and the Alaafin refused to see them on the claim that they were anti-Buhari and were also loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source explained that the main purpose of the meeting was for the newly-inaugurated group to get Alaafin’s blessings and to possibly discuss the issue of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is currently being held and tried in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The source said, “The Olugbon, a member of the caucus, was the one who booked the appointment, but he said the Alaafin said he didn’t want to see us because we’re notorious critics of the Buhari government.
“He (Alaafin) confirmed the appointment yesterday (Thursday). But when we got there today, he kept us waiting; after a while, he asked to see the Olugbon. He (Alaafin) didn’t come to see us; we were told he said he wouldn’t see us because we are notorious critics of Buhari’s government and that some of us are close to Obasanjo, who is also critical of the government.
“We were made to wait for about two and a half hours; he gave us an appointment for 11am; we got there at 11am and at about 1.30pm, that was when it was obvious to us that he wasn’t coming (to see us). But he initially asked to see the Olugbon, who went to see him for about an hour. When the Olugbon eventually came back, he said Alaafin would not see us, saying we are a group that is critical of the Buhari government and some of us are loyalists of Obasanjo.”
On whether the group’s mission to Alaafin’s palace was to discuss Sunday Igboho’s matter, the source said, “Of course, the issue (of Igboho) would come up but that was not the purpose of the visit. The issue of Igboho concerns all the Yoruba people but that was not our reason for going to him.”
On whether the group would try and book another appointment, the source said, “I don’t know; we were all surprised that a Yoruba oba can refuse to see his children on account of not wanting to be on the bad side of Buhari’s government. I would have thought that an oba is supposed to take everybody as his children, whether they are supporters of Buhari the All progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or whatever party.”
But when contacted by PUNCH, the Media Director to the Alaafin, Bode Durojaye, said the reason his principal did not see the group was because they did not have any prior appointment with him.
Durojaye said the Alaafin would be willing to entertain the group if they booked an appointment.
He said, “Those who came are men of honour and kabiyesi did not say he did not want to see them. He did not say he would not see them because they are critical of President Buhari or they are former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s men. Obasanjo himself is a friend of Kabiyesi, so you can see that what you were told was not what happened.
“Kabiyesi said he could not see them because they did not give him prior notice that they were coming. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see them again. They can notify him and he will give them an appointment. You cannot just come and say you want to see him, there are protocols to follow and due process is always adhered to at Alaafin’s Palace.
“There was no rancour, no ill-feeling even when they were going; I was there and I saw them off to their vehicles. If anybody told you that kabiyesi said he didn’t want to see them because they are critical of government or they are Obasanjo’s men, that is a lie.”
NMA Reacts As Bandits Break Into, Pick Nurse At Zamfara General Hospital
Suspected bandits invaded General Hospital, Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, resulting in the abduction of a nurse and caregiver.
Residents said that immediately the men stormed the medical facility, the armed men headed to the outpatient ward in search of a doctor or nurse.
“When they couldn’t find anybody there, they started going from one ward to another. A nurse and a caregiver were abducted. They then moved to staff quarters looking for doctors and nurses but could not find any.”
“The armed criminals had earlier attempted to attack Maigoge, a community located six kilometres north of Dansadau town.
“But when they laid siege to the community, the vigilantes otherwise known as Yan Sakai firmly defended the village. The vigilante killed some of the bandits and injured several others.
“They then invaded the hospital to kidnap nurse and doctors that will treat their injured brothers in the forest.”
Maigoge is one of the few communities in Dansadau Emirate known to be firmly defending themselves against bandits.
“The staff of the facility are not carrying out night duties now. They only attend to patients at day time. They then move inside the town to spend night usually at undisclosed locations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Zamfara state, Dr Mannir Bature, who confirmed the attack said the association is worried by the unfortunate incident.
He said they would hold an emergency state officers council meeting on Saturday.
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