Home Opinion OYO101: A Letter From The Governor To Workers | Muftau Gbadegesin

OYO101: A Letter From The Governor To Workers | Muftau Gbadegesin

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My dear Oyo State workers, I hope this succinct patriotic letter finds you well. I hope you and your family are coping well, as the cost of living continues to exceed your meager take-home.

As your governor, it is my duty to check on you in addition to letting you know what our administration is doing to ease your affairs, ameliorate some of your sufferings, and fight your course in boardrooms and courtrooms. In fact, you and I know that for the past five years, I have placed you at the epicenter of our administration — you smile home with the assurance that I will not deny you the fruit of your sweat, unlike my predecessor and his party.

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While the previous government handled your welfare and well-being with levity, I’ve ensured you get the best deal possible from any government. In dealing with you and the good people of Oyo State, I have ensured the utmost transparency, openness, and justice. I am not ready to renege on those three promises. My definition of justice is for everyone to get what they deserve. In the last five years, I am proud to say my government has touched every nook and cranny of our state with projects and numerous interventions that only speak of my ‘Omituntun’ agenda. Even though some people may not agree with the truth, it doesn’t mean we won’t say it. With all sense of modesty, I make bold to say that no governor or government in our state’s history, has done anything close to what we’ve achieved in the last five years. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

My dear workers, may I assure you that the best is yet to come? In essence, the purpose of my letter to you, as you may know, is to address some salient but critical issues that opposition elements are trying to politicize. As your governor, I strongly believe in setting the record straight. In a world of fake news and misinformation, I believe leaders across all strata must, as a duty, tell their own sides of their stories to avoid what Nigerian literary doyen Chimamanda Adichie described as the danger of a single story; otherwise, speculations, rumours, and assumptions will blight and rob off their reputations and, dare I say, the legacies of such a leader.

In 2019, when we came on board, I told you of my government’s unwavering commitment to paying your salary promptly and timely. I told you our current financial standing would not allow us to pay the N30,000 national minimum wage. We were honest and sincere in our communication, which allowed us to get away with it. My team and I were able to depart from owing workers their dues. However, none of you know how we have been able to consistently pay your salary despite the challenges of committing to areas like infrastructure, health, and education, among others. In health, we have renovated more than 350 primary healthcare centres in the state.

Although I have been unfairly criticised for awarding the renovation contract to people outside of the state, similar criticisms have trailed my relationship with Platinum Consultant and the Light Up project that now dots our state’s landscape. I have this to tell you: My wife’s people are my people. Period. In terms of road infrastructure, we recently commissioned the 76.67-km Alao-Akala Motorway, with the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, and the APC leadership in the state present. We are connecting our state for economic prosperity. And this is a glory no one can take away from us.

Dear workers of our state, one of the reasons I am writing to you is the issue of the minimum wage and the backlash that followed the state governor’s statement. As the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governor Forum, I must inform you about the current situation to prevent any mischievous elements from succeeding in creating division and enmity among us. Let me tell you a secret: the monthly allocation from the federal government has never been enough to settle all our financial obligations as a government to our people. By the time we offset salaries, what remains cannot take care of other commitments. So, what we have successfully done is unlock the potential inherent in public-private partnerships, otherwise known as PPP.

As a successful businessman, I have vast experience in how private enterprises work, and I have been able to tap into a gold mine for the benefit of our people. In addition to PPP, my government has successfully curtailed the financial resources of local governments by seizing their allocations. While we are connecting our respective regions through strategic road construction, I am aware of the sorry state of local government areas in terms of infrastructure. Indeed, I am acutely aware of the pains and agonies of rural dwellers. While my government worked tirelessly with other South West governments to ensure the successful creation of the Amotekun Corps, crime rates in our local areas remain persistent, with illegal miners now added to the picture.

Truth be told, I am not ready to allow the local government breathe. You saw that in the last council election. I cannot allow the opposition to use the discontent about our government in remote areas and hinterlands to undermine and frustrate my agenda. Recall that I told you all during one of my debates in the buildup to the last election that I don’t believe in having three federating units.

The speaker also echoed a similar sentiment about local government autonomy two weeks ago. Regardless of the cries and hues of the local people, I will continue to act in accordance with my conviction. I am quite certain that local people will somehow be fine with or without the intervention of the state government. They are some of the most resilient and dogged people on earth. While the roads that connect their farms to the markets are in bad condition, my government has looked away by disempowering local governments with funds and necessary resources that can aid their effectiveness.

While other states were thinking about what to do to help workers in the wake of fuel subsidy removal, my government quickly rolled out several packages, one of which included the payment of a six-month salary award. We are now one of the few states that prioritise workers’ welfare and well-being in the country. So, you see why the N60,000 minimum wage is both unsustainable and unaffordable. You’ll have to reason with us and accept our own side of the story. I hope you don’t join other striking workers in the state because of the current socio-economic reality. Until we meet again, I remain your governor, the emperor.

NOTE: The opinions expressed here are those of the writer, not anyone else.

OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about issues affecting the Oyo state and is published every Saturday. He can be reached via @muftaugbade on X, muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com, and 09065176850.

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