By Rotimi Ojomoyela
ADO-EKITI—THE Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, in Ekiti State, yesterday, declared an indefinite strike against the state government, beginning from Friday (today), for alleged negligence of workers welfare and unpaid salary arrears.
Similarly, indigenes of Ado Ekiti, under the auspices of Ado Ewi Indigenes Rights Protection Forum and Ado Ekiti Youth Coalition, yesterday, protested against Governor Ayodele Fayose for selling the Oba’s Market in the town to traders, rather than allowing the local government to rent it out to users.
This was as the State House of Assembly approved the N10 billion supplementary budget requested by Governor Fayose.
The workers are aggrieved that despite their goodwill to the administration, the state government had failed to honour an agreement signed recently at the Joint Account Allocation Committee of September 4.
The umbrella body of local government workers in Ekiti also warned the state government against fresh recruitment exercise when it had yet to clear various arrears owed serving workers.
Rising from an emergency meeting held, on Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, NULGE directed all workers to embark on strike from Friday until all contentious issues including social security; payment to Federal Inland Revenue Service were addressed.
In a communiqué signed by the state’s President, Olubunmi Ajimoko, and the Secretary, Suleiman Alero, NULGE said: “Against the background of this government neglecting our earlier advice on the timeliness of fresh recruitment into the services of both the local government and the teaching sector, we again wish to stress that additional burden should not be put on JAAC until our various arrears are cleared. The case of those hurriedly employed in 2003 should serve as a lesson to all who remember history.
“In view of the insensitivity of this present administration, even at the point of winding up, when we feel that corrections of past errors should be made, it has become painfully obvious that no concrete agreement can be respected by this administration.
“The union is, therefore, calling all its members in the 16 local governments, the related commission, Boards and Departments to proceed on an indefinite strike action from Friday.”
Protest in Ekiti over sale of Oba’s market by Fayose
Similarly, protesters, who took their agitations to Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, said the indigenes were not comfortable seeing Governor Fayose selling off their heritage without due consultation with the leaders of the community.
Addressing protesters at the palace, a retired Federal Director and Akuajo of Ado Ekiti, Chief Olugbayo Ogunleye said: “Our stand is apolitical. We are protesting to preserve the heritage of Ado Ekiti indigenes with regards to Oba’s market. Virtually all over Africa, Nigeria in particular and Yoruba land in particular, Oba’s markets are never sold. It can be leased, rented but they are not usually sold outrightly.
“They said people should pay as much as N2 million before allocated shops, rather than allowing them to rent the place. Even those occupying the place were not given preferential treatment. Where would those just trying to make ends meet get N2 million?”
Also berating the governor, spokesman of Ado Ekiti Youth Coalition, Olubodun Olukayode said: “We are sounding a note of warning to prospective buyers that the market is not for sale. Though, we have not met the government, but we have registered our protest with Ewi–in-Council. We are not blaming Governor Fayose for building the market, but we believe it was wrong for local traders to pay as much as N2 million before being allocated shops. We expected the government to allow them to pay rent on the stores either yearly monthly.”
Assembly passes N10bn supplementary budget
Meanwhile, at the sitting, which commenced at 12pm, attended by 14 lawmakers and presided over by Speaker, Hon. Kola Oluwawole, the bill went through first, second readings and committee review before its passage within the hour.
However, journalists were chased out of the hallowed chamber before the commencement of the proceedings.
The appropriation bill forwarded to the House of Assembly by Governor Fsyose had generated furore, with the Governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi threatening severe consequences for whoever took part in what he described as the fraudulent action.