We Condemn Aregbesola Government’s Insensitive Attitude towards Suffering Retirees and Workers
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter hereby supports the mass protests and rallies being organized by the retirees in Osun State over wicked and criminal denial of their entitlements by the Aregbesola/APC government. From our records, a majority of the retirees are owed as much as 18 months’ arrears of pensions, while gratuities of most retirees have not been paid. It would be recalled that the government has been paying fractional salaries and pensions to workers and retirees respectively since 2015, thus pushing workers and retirees to the brink of poverty and avoidable suffering. As we are writing this statement, the government has not paid the fractional salaries and pensions for the month of June.
We condemn the crude and insensitive response of the government through the Commissioner for Information, who claimed that the retirees were ungrateful, and that they were politicians. We ask that the Commissioner tell us what the retirees should be grateful for. Is it mass death occasioned by the non-payment of pensions and gratuities or mass poverty institutionalized by the government in the lives of the retirees and their families? It is shameful that the government will feel no sense of remorse that its criminal failure to pay full salaries and pensions as at when due, has caused untold hardship, loss of lives, health challenges and miseries for tens of thousands of families in the state.
We expect a responsible government to show some sense of remorse whenever workers and retirees protest non-payment of their entitlements; and not display crude arrogance towards such protests. It is more worrisome that a government and party that claim not to have money to pay workers and retirees, spent several millions, if not billions, on its governorship primary elections.
We demand that the government open the account of the state for public scrutiny. The Aregbesola government aside owing several months’ arrears of salaries and pensions, as plunged the state into serious debt crisis that runs to close to N200 billion. Worse still, social services like education and healthcare have been left in terrible conditions.
Currently, lecturers in the state-owned colleges of education are bracing up for strike over the same fractional salaries and arrears of over 18 months’ salaries. Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), which is partly owned by the Osun State government has reportedly announced a new regime of fees in the school, which would have students paying more than 100 percent increase. The lecturers’ union, ASUU in the same university have declared strike over non-payment of their entitlements. All of these are products of chronic underfunding of the university by the Aregbesola and Ajimobi governments in Osun and Oyo State respectively. LAUTECH Teaching Hospital in Osun State, the main government-owned tertiary health institution in the state has been turned into commercialized or semi-privatized institution, due to poor funding.
The so-called infrastructures upon which the government claimed to have committed the loans into have become mostly abandoned and uncompleted. Obviously, the Aregbesola government has left Osun State and the working people in worse conditions than it met them.
We give our unalloyed support to retirees and workers, and call on them not to be deterred by the irresponsible response of the Aregbesola government and its officials. SPN will continue to give all necessary support to workers and retirees in their struggle to collect their fully salaries, pensions, gratuities and arrears. We call on workers in Osun State to take a cue from the pensioners and take the road of mass action. The only language the Aregbesola government, and its anti-poor APC party, understand is mass actions of workers, retirees, youths and students.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) will be contesting to defend the interests of workers, retirees, youths, students and the poor in the forthcoming Governorship Election in Osun State. The SPN is committed to reversing all anti-poor, anti-worker policies of the Aregbesola/APC government in Osun State. SPN will, if elected, immediately stop fractional salaries and pensions. We will pay full salaries and pensions to workers and retirees, and begin immediate offset of arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities. We shall also commit public resources to fund social services like education and health. While admittedly Osun state is not a rich state comparable to Lagos for instance, nevertheless we firmly believe that were it not for official corruption and profligacy of the Aregbeosla regime, the federal allocations and internally generated revenue could have been put to better use.
Therefore, our party pledge to carry out immediate and comprehensive probe of the Aregbesola administration with a view to recover looted funds. We call on workers, retirees, youth and the poor to use the opportunity of this governorship election to end the rule of poverty and want, instituted by the Aregbesola/APC government in Osun State, by voting the candidate of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Comrade Alfred Adegoke, a leading workers’ activist, for governor.
Once again, we give our solidarity to protesting retirees.
SPN Governorship Candidate
SPN Governorship Candidate
SPN State Secretary