This may not be the best times for the embattled governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola over the current crisis that has been rocking the state Ministry of Education, as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) have chosen strike as their best option to press home their various demands for increase in salaries and allowances.
ASUP had, last week, embarked on an indefinite strike in all the state-owned institutions to support its members’ agitation for the payment of a 21 per cent salary and allowance’ increase, which the governor had reportedly promised to pay since 2008.
Teachers across the state have also remained hell-bent in securing the implementation of the Teachers’ Salary Scale (TSS), while the state government has not shown any interest in paying the 27.5 per cent salary increase of the teachers, a development that compelled the teachers to embark on an industrial action.
All academic activities in all the state-owned institutions (except UNIOSUN) and all the public schools have been paralyzed by the strike, a development that has sent millions of higher institution students and 800,000 students of public schools back to their various homes.
The ASUP and the NUT strike has thrown the state government into confusion and panic, a situation that made the state governor and Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan to be threatening the two unions.
Fresh facts have emerged on why the teachers’ strike would persist in the state for a long time, as it has been disclosed that the state government has deposited the salaries of the teachers into a fixed deposit account in one of the new generation banks in the state.
The commissioner for education in the state has stated that the state government could not afford the implementation of the 27.5 per cent increase in the teachers’ salary due to the financial constraint of the present administration.
The NUT has remained hell-bent on its struggle for the implementation of the TSS just as the ASUP has also maintained that the indefinite strike of its members would be called off as soon as the state government paid the 21 per cent allowance to the lecturers.
According to the state chairman of the ASUP, Comrade Femi Adekale, who spoke to OSUN DEFENDER during the weekend in Osogbo, the state capital, academic allowances and leave bonus of the teachers for the 2008 has not been paid under the excuse of financial constraint by the state government.
Adekale stated that the state government had, earlier last year, with pressure, paid 79 percent, out of the 100 per cent of the salary increase with a promise that it would pay the remaining 21 per cent within the year.
He said: “All other states have paid the 100per cent salary increase, except Osun State government, which has been giving flimsy excuses to justify its action.
“The present administration is full of deceit, illusion and failed promises. We are tired of this deceitful administration. When ever the government pays our money, we will resume work.
“We know how the governor has been paying political office holders with the resources of the state.
“Oyinlola had promised that our salary would also be increased, when he increased the school fees of all the state-owned institutions. The school fees have been increased in all the state-owned institutions and the governor is yet to fulfill his promises. What has Oyinlola been spending these institutions’ income on?
The ASUP chairman revealed that certain percentage of their salaries and allowances were paid by their various institutions, adding that it is only the state government that has been adamant in the payment of their salaries and allowances.
According to the chairman, Oyinlola has been avoiding the executives and members of the ASUP on the industrial crisis, as he (Oyinlola) reportedly showed a meeting scheduled to settle the face-off between the union and the state government in Abuja, by the state chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
By ismail usman