Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Friday, flagged off the construction of the office complex for the Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board, noting that those opposed to the project would be silenced when they see the outcome.
Governor Makinde, who maintained that the state government has commenced a gradual rehabilitation of the secretariat complex which, he said, had been left to degenerate over the years, added that the process would not abate until the entire structure was given the desired face-lift.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying these while unveiling the 3D design for the office complex.
The governor maintained that the idea of the office complex came from the Local Government Service Commission itself, while he also noted that in 11 months when the project would be completed, opposition members criticizing the government would be silenced.
He said: “It is my pleasure to be here today to flag off the office complex for the Local Government Service Commission and the Local Government Pension Board. This was not my idea but that of the Permanent Secretary of Local Government Service Commission.
“We thought we should lay our own foundation and start a campaign of regenerating the secretariat. Oyo State had the opportunity of having the very first modern secretariat then and, several years later, it is still those structures that we keep seeing. They were not even renovating them, they were just painting the exterior, only.
“We did not do anything for the 100 days in office of this administration but, much later, we released 15million Naira to each ministry to renovate their offices. And I am glad, indeed, that the Secretariat is wearing a new look, not only from the outside but even from the inside. Renovation work is also going on at the Governor’s Office.
“In about 11 months, we will be coming back here to commission the edifice. So, I thank the chairmen and chairpersons of the local government areas and the local council development areas, because everybody came together to buy into the vision. And by that your singular action, we were able to raise a substantial amount that is needed for the construction of this structure.
“Where I was coming from, we played a little bit of politics but this is governance. When we initially came up with this idea, some people said we were taking money from the government’s purse. I think they will shut their mouths permanently in another 11 months.
“I congratulate the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board. It is your idea and baby and we will support you to see to its completion.”
In their separate speeches, the chairman of the Oyo State Local Government Service Commission/Local Government Staff Pension Board, Honourable Aderemi Ayodele, and the secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Oyo State Council, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, described the flag off of the office complex as historic.
Abatan, who praised Governor Makinde for seeing to the payment of about N5 billion in gratuities to retired workers of Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals, said that Makinde’s administration was purposeful.
According to him, the administration has so far paid N1.98 billion to retirees of primary schools while local government retires have got about N3.2 billion.”
While speaking, Ayodele commended Makinde for granting the approval to begin work on the office complex, noting that the governor has restored the glory of the local government service commission and pension board through training and retraining.
He said that his commission and its pension board had been tenants in the Water Corporation Building for 40 years without any administration deeming it worthy to construct an office complex.
He further stated that in the last one year, the administration, apart from paying 100 per cent pensions to retirees, has been releasing N274 million monthly for the payment of gratuities of retired Primary School teachers and Local Government staff.
He noted that so far, the sum of N3.5 billion has been paid as gratuities to retirees by the administration, noting that the efforts of the Makinde government have culminated in the socio-economic development being witnessed in the state.