By Sarafa Ibrahim
A politician who actually does what he told people he would do seems almost unfathomable in Nigeria, a country of many unfulfilled promises. This was why a lot of people were skeptical when Senator Ademola Adeleke, while campaigning to be Governor, promised to offset the arrears of salaries and pensions owed by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.
On Wednesday, Governor Adeleke lived up to his words as he outlined steps to clear-off the wage debts incurred by the previous administration while also approving the monetary benefits of the 2019 to 2022 promotion exercise for active workers in the state. That is outstanding, and as a result, triggered a wave of excitements for people across the state.
In the build up to the 2022 governorship election, Governor Adeleke showed serious concern about the pain of workers and pensioners, with an assurance to ameliorate their situations. The promise was so broad that, frankly, they seemed exaggerated and impossible.
While featuring on a BBC Yoruba debate, Gboyega Oyetola who had failed to do anything about the owed wages for four years, was quick to cast doubt on the intention of Governor Adeleke to pay the owed arrears of half. The excuse of the former governor was where will he get the money to clear the liability.
To be frank, the finances of Osun state is in distress. However, what seems to be certain now is that unlike Oyetola, Governor Adeleke is deeply touched by the plights of workers and pensioners, and not prepared to watch people continue to suffer over their earned entitlements.
In that light, Governor Adeleke’s gesture was a clear resolve to give reprieve to people who had endured tortuous pain over the years. The significant nature of Governor Adeleke’s gesture was reflected in the message of appreciation to the governor by the Joint Labour Movement in the state.
“The payment of salary arrears, contributory pensions, half salary arrears, cash backing of promotion exercise, and most importantly outstanding deductions will boost the morale of active public servants and renew hope of retired officers,” the statement by the labour movement in the state reads.
“Therefore, the Labour Movement on behalf of the entire workers and retirees pledge our continued loyalty and support to your good government for this act of kindness which will definitely serve as a veritable drive for increased productivity of our dutiful members.”
There are, of course, some well-known critics who will want to wave off the gesture as nothing to really cheer about, but the resultant effect is too visible for anyone to just dismiss.
” Workers will have the needed extra cash to sought out some pressing needs just as pensioners can get the needed help for sustenance. Much more is the economic benefits to the state, as most of the money will end up in the state’s economy.