PUBLIC WORKERS ARE STILL DEPRIVED OF N18, 000 MINIMUM WAGE!
· For an adequate compensation for all victims of demolition now!
We of the Oyo State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) use the occasion of this year anniversary of the return to civil rule otherwise called “Democracy Day” to call on the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to immediately comply with the national minimum wage law which stipulates N18, 000 as basic salary for Step1 level 1 workers with commensurate increase for workers in other levels. We also demand adequate compensations for thousands of working people in the state whose shops/stalls and houses were demolished without prior alternative under the guise of beautification and cleaning-up project.
It will be recalled that on the 2nd May, 2012, the Oyo State public workers, in order to pave way for negotiation with the state government suspended their three weeks strike action which they had embarked upon to protest the continued refusal of Ajimobi-led administration to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage. Unfortunately, since then, the Ajimobi/ACN led government in the state has not only refused to meet this legitimate demand of the workers but at different time carried out various forms of despotic actions against thousands of workers in the state. This was purposely to intimidate them from continuing the agitation for the implementation of N18000 minimum wage as well as other improvement in working conditions. For instance, thousands of teachers and local government workers were sacked without due process.
We hereby call on the state leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to come out with a program of action including mass sensitization, strike and mass protest for immediate and unconditional payment of the new minimum wage to Oyo state workers.
We hold that it is the long years of corruption and monumental failure of successive governments to invest the collective and stupendous resources of the state on the needs of the people and infrastructure that has made the beautification project façade of the current administration at strategic places while the inner and interior roads are in deplorable condition to be considered “unprecedented” achievement. But to us in SPN, such beautification projects given the resources at the disposal of the state is not enough to justify the non- implementation of N18,000 minimum wage for Oyo State workers as well as undue daily assaults, extortion and other repressive actions on small traders and artisans in the state.
As a matter of fact, we of SPN do not approve of the situation where people trade either on the road sides or the streets. It is however the failure of the successive capitalist governments in the state and nationally \to use the resources of the society for the benefit of the working people that has created ugly conditions whereby working people are forced to be selling or trading on the road sides.
We strongly hold that the working people and the poor are not the centerpiece of Senator Abiola Ajimobi developmental plan of road construction and beautification project. This explains why there is no provision for alternative or adequate compensations before the implementation of the so-called urban renewal policy of ACN-led government. After all, the UPN-led government in Oyo State in 1983 made sure it built new Gbagi and Aleshinloye markets before traders moved away from the roads as well as old Gbagi market.
Unfortunately, since UPN (which ACN claims to be their progenitor) became defunct in 1983 and out of government as a result of military coup, all pro-capitalist governments, both military and civilian, in the state have collectively failed regardless of political parties to add a single market to the existing ones while the number of traders in the state has manifold increased .
The argument of the ACN spokespersons that, “why should Senator Abiola Ajimobi be expected to provide alternative or compensation to victims of either demolished or destroyed shops/stalls and goods when those structures were actually illegal” is an expression of the crass anti-working people character of Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led government in the state.
In light of this we strongly condemn the continued use of some gangs of uniformed thugs, the volunteers of Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo popularly known as YES-O; Special police squad known as Operation Burst and policemen to brutally subject thousands of small traders and artisans at different areas of Ibadan and Ogbomosho to all forms of harassment and physical assault under the guise of beautification and cleaning-up project.
Therefore, while demanding adequate investment of the collective of the resources of the state in building low-cost markets for poor traders as well as basic social services like education, health care, we are conscious of the fact that as long as the political scene is dominated by pro-capitalist political parties like ACN, PDP, APGA, ACCORD, LP, CPC, etc the needs and aspirations of the working masses will always be negotiated for greed of a few thieving pro-capitalist politicians.
We therefore call on workers, students, unemployed youths and artisans among others to join us in building SPN as a genuine socialist alternative to the vicious cycle of misery and nightmare of current iniquitous, anti-poor capitalist system being represented and defended by all capitalist governments including Ajimobi/ACN led government in Oyo State.
The government formed by SPN in Oyo state shall base itself on socialist programme of massive investment of resources on social services and public works with democratic control of the working people in order to guarantee provision of quality education, health care, housing, roads, markets, etc for the benefit of the working people. This also includes a measure that all elected and appointed political officers of the SPN shall be taking the wages of civil servants and commit the rest of bloated pay to community and workers movements.
Oyo State Secretary,
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN)08033914091