*NLC and TUC must be united towards a struggle to resist any attempt to slash salaries and pensions in the state
*For political office holders of the same salary and allowances as civil servant as well as an end to a dubious contact system through which political office holders and their allies siphon public money
The attention of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) Oyo state chapter has been drawn to a media report that the APC-led government in the state claimed to have slashed the salaries of political appointees by 50%. SPN sees the purported 50% slash in salaries of political appointees, which was reportedly disclosed by the Secretary to the state government, Mr Olalekan Ali during a press conference held on the 7th November, 2016, as a mere deceit and gimmick to build a public sympathy towards a bid to revive the age long plan of the Senator Ajimobi-led government to slash the salaries and pensions of civil servants and retirees in the state.
The basic salaries of political office holders and appointees are small if compared to all forms of jumbo allowances they receive. Some of these allowances are for vehicles, entertainment, security, utility, newspapers, medical, clothing, feeding etc. and they often range from 100% to 300% of their basic salaries. All these allowances taken by political appointees just as the governor and members of house of assembly take security votes and constituency allowance respectively are so outrageous such that their opulent lifestyle will not be affected even with the so called 50% slash in their salary.
If the Ajimobi-led Oyo state government is truly interested in any serious measure to shore up the dwindling revenue base, it should rather place all its political office holders and appointee on the same salary and allowances scale as that of mass of civil servants in the state. He must at the same time scrap security vote, abolish the corrupt contract system while invest money liberated from this measure in social and public infrastructure through a public work programme under democratic control of workers. This is very important because inflation of contracts has been one of the ways through which politicians and big business siphon public money under contract system.
Except this kind of measure is taken no amount of percentage slash of salary of either political appointees or political office holder will translate into any improvement in the living and working condition of the working people in the state. Instead the 50% slash in salary of political appointee may sooner or later turns out to be a weapon in the hands of the pro-capitalist Ajimobi-led government in the state to start canvassing for a slash in the meagre salary and allowance of civil servants in the state.
Therefore we call on the civil servants in the state particularly the leadership of the major trade union centres in the state NLC, TUC including the JNC not to be induced by the called 50% slash in the salary of political appointee to agree or accept any slash in the salary of civil servants in the state. Instead, they must be united toward initiating a renewed struggle against non-payment of backlogs of salaries and pensions and other attacks on living and working condition under which the civil servants in the state groan.
Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky)
Secretary, SPN, Oyo State Chapter