Home News Oyo NLC Poised for Showdown with Ajimobi

Oyo NLC Poised for Showdown with Ajimobi

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*Mobilises workers to resume at Magistrate Court Monday

By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State chapter, has directed all public servants in the state to, as from Monday June 6, resume at the Magistrate Court Complex, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State until their leaders who were arraigned on a seven-count charge of alleged destruction of government property on Friday before a Magistrate Court, in Ibadan are released from prison custody.

This was made known at the weekend during a press conference addressed by the Treasurer and Acting Chairman of the congress, Comrade Bosun Daramola, listing their five demands, at the union’s state secretariat, America Quarter, Agodi Gate, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The arrested labour leaders are Chairman, Comrade Waheed Olojede, Sikiru Sodo, Oseni Aderemi, Oparinde Kehinde, Falade Akinyele, Ogundeji Kofoworola and Adegbogun Titi.

They were alleged to have destroyed chairs at the venue of the stakeholders’ meeting, valued at N1 million, accused of disturbing public peace, assaulting the Secretary to the State Government, Olalekan Alli, and threatening the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi.

Though they were granted bail, they were unable to fulfil the bail condition as stipulated by the Magistrate before the close of work on Friday, June 3.

However, the union members stated emphatically that the arrest, arraignment and subsequent incarceration of their leaders was a gimmick by the state government to weaken the resolve of the union to stop the government from what it described as the sale of some leading schools in the state, under the pretext of a public/private partnership initiative, saying the union would not surrender to the blackmail by the state government.

In a statement signed by both Daramola and the Auditor of the congress, Comrade M.A. Badiru, they enjoined members of the public to join in the campaign.

They listed their five demands which include “unconditional release of the NLC chairman and six other labour leaders; immediate withdrawal of all trumped up charges levelled against the incarcerated labour leaders; rescinding the decision to sell-off any public schools in the state; proper and adequate funding of the education sector, including payment of living wages and other incentives for educational workers and the immediate payment of six months’ outstanding salaries and all pension arrears.”

Explaining the role of the union on its take on the exercise, Daramola stated that “returning schools to ‘former owners,’ alumni associations, individual alumni and alumnae ‘stakeholders,’ etc., as being claimed by the Oyo State Government is tantamount to the privatization of education, which in principle and practice, negates and contradicts the resolution of the UNESCO to which our country is a signatory.” 

Privatisation of education will, no doubt, amount to commercialisation of education which will definitely, sooner or later, take education beyond the reach of children of the masses of Oyo State.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Oyo State branch, has dissociated itself from a statement purportedly credited to the chairman of the Oyo State Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Comrade Olusola Ogundiran, which dissociated the body from the peaceful protest staged by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State chapter, on Wednesday, 1st June, 2016.

NULGE, in a statement signed by its Principal Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Adetola Joseph Oguntimehin, said: “NULGE, Oyo State branch, as a bonafide member of Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), condemned in strong terms, the statement credited to Comrade Ogundiran and viewed such statement as an expression of his personal opinion and not of the members/affiliates of JNC in Oyo State.”

In a related development, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Oyo State branch also condemned in all entirety the police harassment, arrest and subsequent detention of the NLC Chairman in the state, Com. Waheed Olojede and six other labour leaders over their disagreement with the state government to privatize secondary education in the state.

According to a press release issued, signed and made available to WESTERN POST by the union’ state secretary, Com. Olusegun Abatan, while the active players in this infamous enterprise enjoyed the same free education they wanted to abolish, measure to shore up the IGR of the state should be sourced from other abundant areas which, with ample political will could fetch the state between N5billion and N7billion monthly.

“Men and women of good conscience should rise up against a throw-back to dark age dictatorship of our recent history. Oyo State Government should think out of the box of how to pay arrears of salaries and pensions including gratuities rather than engage in an unproductive journey of harassing labour leaders,” adding that no government in the history of the state in the last 20 years, arrested labour leaders, not even when the state was under the control of a former police officer.

“In effect, the development stultify the legendary free education put in place in Western Region by the late sage Obafemi Awolowo,” the release remarked.

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