Shed Your Plan To Rig LG Polls –Ekiti AC Warns PDP

As the people of Ekiti State warms up for local government elections scheduled for December 20, the state chapter of the Action Congress (AC) has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against rigging the elections.

Speaking at a function in Ilupeju-Ekiti at the weekend, the deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honorable Saliu Adeoti counseled that the PDP should shed such plan.

The AC lawmaker said that people of the state are ready to defend their elections and would not allow a repeat of the alleged massive rigging that characterized the April 2007 general elections.

The lawmaker added that Ekiti people would not accept what he called “written and prepared in the Government House” result of council elections.

Adeoti said the party was not ready for another battle at the local government election tribunal, judging from its bitter experience at the Election Petition Tribunal that sat in the state.

He said: “AC members will give it all it takes to prevent their votes from being stolen this time around”.

He also warned against the use of soldiers and anti-riot policemen to intimidate voters or rig the council polls, saying that the recently- passed SIEC law forbids the use of soldiers or MOPOL.

He said: “The recently-passed SIEC law forbids the use of soldiers or MOPOL, hence the electorates are at liberty to deal ruthlessly with anybody seen on the election day wearing army or MOPOL uniform.

“We are praying that there will be no bloodshed, but they must allow the votes of the people to count on the election day and I am sending our monarch to those people perfecting any plot to rig the election to drop the plan.

“This time around, we are defending our votes with the last drop of our blood and anything contrary to a free and fair local government elections will not be acceptable to the AC because we believe, if the forthcoming elections is free and fair, nothing stops our party from winning in 10 local government areas”, Adeoti insisted.

Besides, a PDP lawmaker, Hon. Adebayo Morakinyo has said that the House would cooperate with the electoral agency in the state to ensure a free and credible election.

EFCC Probes Oyo Director Of Protocol

For alleged diversion of public fund for personal use, the Oyo State Director of Protocol (DOP), Mr. T. Dairo is still under the investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Dairo and some government officials in the state were arrested sometimes in August for alleged financial impropriety and detained for several hours at the commission’s Lagos Office.

The arrested government officials were later released to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Olayiwola Olakojo.

However, it was gathered that the EFCC is still investigating Dairo, following a petition written by some officials of the office of the Department of Protocol, Governor’s Office, accusing him of illegal diversion of state’s funds for personal use.

Dairo was alleged to have fraudulently enriched himself by approving false travelling documents and allowances.

He was said to have owned several buildings within and outside the state in less than two years tenure of Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala and purchasing many cars among other.

However, the EFCC has started investigating Dairo, asking him to defend the allegations of fraud levelled against him.

EFCC spokesman, Femi Babafemi said that the commission has invited those alleged upon receiving the petition to defend themselves.

He said that, of all the accusations levelled against Dairo, two had been established to be false, while other allegations were being investigated.

Until the investigations was concluded, he said, the accused could not be said to be clean.

According to him, from investigation so far, Dairo has no power to approve travelling documents and allowances of those on the entourage of the governor and his guests.

He said the commission had established that the power to approve such allowances was that of SSG.

Babafemi said the EFCC had established that Dairo owes a three-bedroom bungalow as against the allegations that he had many buildings.

“He does not have the power to approve travelling documents and allowances; it is the office of SSG that has such power”, he said.

To The Appeal Faculty

Justice dates back to the genesis of creation, when God saw or rather adjudicated that all which God created was good. A level was that of creativeness, another level of intellectuality in God’s procedure was adjudication.

The act of judgment giving starts from God and ends with God. Man is only privileged to be a factor in God’s procedure of transfer of justice from abstract concept to physical or societal impact. Theologians may prefer the use of spiritual to abstract in this context. Whichever way it goes, it is pertinent to note that justice is of God, from God, to man or society, by Godly character, and report back to God.

Being omniscience, or all-knowing, God, all the knowledgeable, learned, Lords in the temple of Justice must re-awaken their fundamental awareness that the finality of their professional discourse belongs to God. in fact, judges are reasoned to be stepping into God’s shoes of righteousness with the sole aim of stamping out any form of default from our societal interactive contracts.

Personally, I admire the judges, yet I don’t fancy them; my premium is not on the façade of brazen disposition but on the quality and fairness of their arduous determination, which is done in a transparent and accountable manner.

The reason for the appeal is bordered on more of integrity and the character of test and trust. It calls for further probity, demanding the culture of more inclusiveness than exclusiveness, with sole aim arriving at the unalloyed truth, not a fixed caricature of technicalities.

Normally, as in any case, there are bound to be intervening variables at play. The variables are always concocted and sponsored by influence, power, sentiments. Therefore, my advice is that the judges should dwell much on concrete documents. There should be no fencing-off of any evidence under whatever guise. The bearing of the whole appeal gamut is towards unearthing the truth.

Thank God, the judges faces are no longer hidden in visual transmission, of recent. I always believe that the righteous will always be as bold as alion. The truth is like a living personality which doesn’t die, though may be covered for a time or season, but will always kick until its reality dawns and put to shame every strand of lie and pretence.

Nothing should be heard of ‘my hands are tied’ syndrome of our ridiculous judicial past, after the victim was erroneously incarcerated. Certainly, the appeal court job is not for the gold-diggers, but for those yearning after the virility of our nation and the triumph of equity. On this hangs the future of a peaceful Nigeria.

Fair justice breeds collective peace and self-consolation for those who lose their case. A wholesome judiciary is always the bedrock of any stable polity. The failure of the judiciary is the failure of any democracy. Actually, the strength of democracy is fostered by egalitarianism.

Our past military regimes failed because of the subservience of the judiciary to the commanders-in-chief. The military rulers played their commandeering times and the judiciary danced away its honour for a price.

It is too costly for our judiciary to fail in this nick of time, its fall in professional integrity will make every other arm of governance, and indeed, every public sector collapse. The sustenance of Nigerian nation, as well as any other nation, in the world, is based on moral and attitudinal fabric which is upheld as constitutionally stipulated.

To the Appeal faculty, here is a case of theft to be brainstormed upon: A litigant approached the court of law seeking a retrieve of what he lays claim to, from a defendant. He equipped himself with a lot of evidences indicating how the thing was stolen, stunning revelations about his ownership of the said matter. In fact, more facts were continuously emerging from all and sundry about the litigant’s ownership.

The defendant, in his own case had very limited evidences which upon survey, showed was weak to adequately defend its ownership. Instead of relying on substance to show, he rather was banking on finding a fault in the plaintiff’s filing of case, his inappropriate use of word or nomenclature, proof of alibi and so on.

In the period of hearing, the plaintiff dwelt mostly on concrete, visual, vivid physical documents while the defendant adopted no concrete counter-evidence material or document against the plaintiff. Rather than defend himself by producing substance of conviction, he argued on technicalities which can be twisted or always re-interpreted to suit any chosen line of argument.

To the presiding judge, the matter before him was that of evidence of daunting proof versus that of suggestive technicalities. The expected norm from a prestigious judge would have been to associate with substance and denounce postulations. He eventually, disappointingly associated with conditional theorems by which he threw away the case of the plaintiff on the ground of no weight, when he has closed his eyes from seeing, let along examining physical depositions of the plaintiff, only to be discovered later that he has inadvertently being bought over. That is what happened in Osun State.

Dear compatriots, no matter how brilliant a thief is, a thief is always a thief. No matter how powerful an extortioner is, he is a usurper and a democratic misfit.

Let the rightful owner by weak, and imperfect, he remains the owner be sincerity and factuality. By this, the beauty of the judiciary glows in uprightness, and everybody else in the society at large would be threading that narrow path of righteousness, which has been repeatedly said to be exalting a nation.

In another perspective, everybody knows his belonging and can always identify same with endless list of evidences, even if the court rules in favour of the alleged. Ownership is by substantiated evidence, not by eloquence or brilliance.

By now, Nigerian judiciary should have been written off, but for certain exemplary, outstanding, heartwarming and courageous determinations, as we have them displayed in the cases of Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State, also Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Ondo State tribunal, Edo state tribunal and other few cases.

Certain attitudes were noted for the election tribunals of Ondo and Edo States. Their presiding judges allowed in as many evidences as possible. They didn’t bar or refrain any useful evidences that would help them arrive at the truth. They were very practical in their approach.

Votes counting and votes verification were their priority; ward by ward, local government by local government. Taking into account, every little detail. You know truth has elements of courage. Their presiding judges boldly announced what they found to be correct facing the zooming camera, as their sheer display of brevity was shown to the whole world to see and tap from.

All the people are saying is: ‘Give us our true governor’. The people have voted their candidate. They expressed themselves very well, by overwhelming majority. Will the voice of the masses be silenced, and silenced for ever?

There is a question I want to ask our judiciary, especially at the tribunal level. Why is it that most of them are scared of technological devices that expose rigging or any foul-play in electoral matters? I think they should rather be very welcoming to this held-device. All they need to do is to cross-examine the accuracy and the veracity of the machines, and adopt their use.

Afterall, there have been cases of theft in social gatherings that were recorded knowingly or unknowingly by the camera. The moment the thieves saw their shame exposed, they quickly returned their loot without allowing them to be taken to court. Justice is the business of fact and truth determination, either in court or out of court.

Now that similar technologies have found their way into the Nigerian electoral system, only the guilty are expected to run away. I quite understand the phobia of the defendants whose shame of dirty shows are being exposed.

If there is no skeleton in the tribunal’s cupboard, why should they be scared any bit about finger-prints detecting technology? Should our national courts of justice fail, at the senior level of Appeal and or to determine the truth, Supreme, let us be reminded that there is always a superior court of conscience and common-sense, which belongs to the public superior and overwhelming mentality. I hereby remember an uncle who was an illiterate, but with a God-endowed intelligence that is difficult to be matched by our groomed, embellished and contemporary lawyers. Such are many in towns. Not necessarily lawyers. They cut across various disciplines.

Those who tried to fool the intelligence of the public in the past, from the law courts ended up as fools themselves.

These tasks are therefore placed before our Appeal courts:

– Safe-guiding our public morality from collapse.

– Ensuring the triumph of truth and the true.

– Re-awakening the hope of the common man in our judiciary.

– Protecting the young and tender integrity of Nigerian judicial system.

– Salvaging our fledging democracy from failure.

– Establishing a judicial level-playing ground for all and sundry.

– Instilling in the public conscience that future elections will be devoid of all illegality and crime.

– Enthroning the peoples mandate.

The above could constitute the Appeal Court’s seven-point agenda for a better Nigeria. With the enactment of the above, I could see a reviving country and also, a resuscitating Osun State.

Lagos LG Polls: AC Clears All Seats

It was another great success for the Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress (AC) last Saturday, as the party candidates won in all the 20 Local Governments Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the state, during the council polls.

Announcing winners of the elections, the Chairman, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Justice Fatai Adeyinka (rtd) said the AC swept all the chairmanship and councillorship slots in all the 57 council areas.

Amid funfare, the LASIEC boss issue certificate of return to all the chairman-elect, while the zonal LASIEC Commissioner presented similar certificates to the councilor-elects.

While the AC members, supporters and sympathizers were jubilating for the success of the party in all the council areas, some protested against the election, alleging that the election was married with irregularities.

Presenting certificates to the AC candidates, the LASIEC boss described the outcome of the polls as a monumental success.

The AC, led by Otunba Oladele Ajomale hailed the state electoral commission for conducting what it termed a hitch-free exercise, saying that the commission has set another record in the history of electioneering in the country which other states would want to emulate.

The party said that all efforts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to sabotage the polls motivated the ruling AC in the state to go into the contest as if it had formidable opponents.

Spokesman of the party, Mr. Joe Igbokwe said that Lagosians voted enmasse for the party’s flagbearers because they were impressed by the achievements of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of the state.

Igbokwe said that he elections has triggered some issues which the main opposition party (PDP) sought to use to whip-up sentiment and confuse the public.

The party chieftain dismissed the claim of illegality of the polls by the PDP as “baseless,” recalling that all the processes were strictly followed.

According to him, Lagosians trooped out to endorse the creation of the additional councils on the poll day, stressing that their response to the electoral call jolted the PDP out of its delusion.

Rejecting the claim of the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA), one of the parties that participated in the election that the election was fraught with irregularities, Igbokwe said that DPA is only existing on the pages of newspapers in Lagos.

Meanwhile, an election monitoring group, “Advocacy for Right Governance” observed that the election was largely peaceful, fair and transparent.

The president of the organization, Dr. Mike Adewusi said that though there was low turn-out in some local government, there were no malpractices.

Adewusi gave LASIEC a pass mark, urging other electoral bodies in the neighbouring state to emulate it.

Ilesa Zone AC Organises Workshop For Candidates, Officials

The need to ensure that elected and appointed officers are made answerable for their tenure in office was part of the resolutions reached at a leadership training workshop.

Tagged “Grassroots Development Approaches and the Challenges of Electoral Politics,” the workshop held on Monday at the Action Congress (AC) party secretariat for Ilesa East local government council Area of Osun State, was designed for the party’s officials and candidates at the ward and local government levels.

The one-day workshop had participants drawn from the six local government council areas in Ijesaland, comprising also the councils’ party chairmen, women and youth leaders at the ward and council levels.

The first lecture that was delivered on “Grassroots Development Approaches” did insightful dissection of the concept, structure and attributes of governance in Nigeria, and Governance and Millennium Development goals (MDGS), highlighting public accountability, environmental sustainability, place of women and traditional institutions in the contemporary art and science of governance.

“Challenges of Electoral Contest”, the second lecture, exhaustively looked at the strategies for mobilization for elections and defence of votes for victory at the polls.

Earlier, participants had formed a long queue to register for the workshop, and workshop materials were issued out to them by the Institute for Development and Democratic Studies (IDDS), Lagos, the workshop organizers.

The facilitators, Ajayi Popoola and Kolawole Abiodun had hectic time answering question from the participants during the workshop intractive session.

The workshop initiated and planned by the Ultimate Group, a wing of the Action Congress in the state was effectively attended by the party State Chairman Alhaji Moshood Adeoti represented by Hon. Adelowo Adebiyi, AC Ife/Ijesa Senatorial leader, AC State Secretary, Hon. Gboyega Famodun parliamentarian for Ilesa East and West, Honourables Timothy Owoeye and Folarin Fafowora and a host of fierce loyalists and supporters of the party.

In his keynote address, the Ife-Ijesa senatorial leader redefined dividends of democracy as “accountability, fairness, equity, justice and transparency,” adding also that the workshop was expected to improve the participants’ knowledge, skills in politics and politicking for poll victory and inculcate in them new political attitude.

Chief Jumoke Ogunkeyede, Ultimate Group chairman in the state saluted the tenacity of purpose of Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, AC governorship candidate in the state and his overall contributions to the continued political development of stalwarts and members of the party.

Ogunkeyede described his group as victory enhancer for the party in the state.

Chairman at the workshop, Honourable Babatunde Ajilore, a one-time chairman, league of secretaries to the local government councils in Lagos State, set the tone for the conference in his opening remarks. He lauded Aregbesola, describing him as a man of history and scourge of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State.

He stated that the workshop has five sessions, with the first session already held on Friday 6, June in Ile-Ife, and the subsequent ones slated for Ikirun Tuesday, 14, Iwo Monday 20, Ede Tuesday 21 and Osogbo Wednesday 22 this month.

Abiodun Aremu, the IDDS Executive Coordinator, in a brief remark described the objectives of a political party as a continuing enterprise “that goes beyond just fielding candidates for election”.

Osun Tribunal Scandal Latest: Naron, Others Face NJC’s Trial

After months of waiting and anxiety by stakeholders and other democrats across the world, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has reportedly succumbed to pressure by setting up a five – man panel to investigate the alleged compromise of the Justice Thomas Naron-led Election Petitions Tribunal that sat in Osun State.

The alleged compromise of the tribunal judges was revealed through telephone conversations between the tribunal members and one of the lead counsel to the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Otunba Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN) as published in one of the previous editions of TheNEWS magazine.

OSUN DEFENDER reliably gathered that the affected tribunal judges had earlier been queried by the nation’s Chief Justice, Idris Kutigi, who doubles as the NJC chairman.

It was learnt that the five judges of the tribunal have responded to the queries sent to them by the NJC boss.

According to the source, the NJC members are expected to meet this week to decide on the mode of the investigation of the tribunal judges.

It was further learnt that the council at the meeting was expected to review all the petitions against the panel members, after which the five-man panel of enquiry would commence its job.

It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had summoned the Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN), requesting for the call log of the affected tribunal judges and the lawyer (Kalejaiye).

The medium further reliably gathered that the council may either base its investigation on the outcome of the EFCC investigation or commence its own investigation afresh.

An NJC member said that this would be the first time the council would be handling an issue relating to technological challenges, adding that all the NJC members are curious to establish the fact of the matter.

The NJC was petitioned by the Action Congress (AC) in Osun State and its governorship candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola over the alleged romance between the tribunal judges and the tribunal which was unveiled by TheNews magazine few days to the day set aside for judgment by the tribunal.

Ever before the revelations of TheNews magazine, the state chapter of the AC had alleged that the tribunal was biased, asking the panel members to disqualify themselves from delivering judgment on the governorship tussle.

Despite the revelations by the magazine and the plea of the petitioners that the tribunal should disqualify itself from delivering the judgment, the tribunal shunned all oppositions and delivered judgment on the governorship tussle on July 15, 2008, upholding the election of the embattled governor.

An appeal had since been filed against the judgment of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan.

Other members of the tribunal to be investigated by the NJC are Justices Joy Akpugunhum; Justice Joe Ekanem; Justice Sa’adu Mohammed and A.T Badamas.

Fake Immigration Officers Arraigned For Fraud

The hope of an Osogbo businessman, Chief Joseph Kayode to travel out of Nigeria has been dashed by two suspected fake immigration officers, who purportedly defrauded him of the sum of one million Naira.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the fake immigration officers, having known the intention of Kayode to travel to Jamaica, persuaded him to allow them handle the processing of his visa and other documents.

Kayode, after an iron cast of fake evidences from the accused persons, succumbed to their antics and started giving them money which amounted to one million naira.

But luck ran out for the suspects when they were arrested by the police, after some days based on complaints by Kayode, to the police.

Eventually, the accused persons were arraigned at an Osogbo magistrate’s court on a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and obtaining money under false pretence.

According to the charge sheet, “the accused persons perpetrated the purported crime in July, 2008, at Odi-Olowo.

However, when the charge was read to them, they pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge and prayed the court to admit them to bail.

Counsel to the suspects, Mr, Wasiu Adebayo, who maintained the innocence of the accused persons on the allegation, said reliable sureties would stand for them.

Adebayo added that the suspects were ready to stand their trial and would not jump bail if granted, as he further prayed the court to be liberal on the bail terms.

Police prosecutor, Corporal Emmanuel Abdullahi, said bail was at the discretion of the court, maintaining that the presiding judge should exercise his discretion judicially and judiciously.

Ruling on the bail application, the presiding magistrate, Mr Adebayo Ajala, granted bail to the suspects in the sum of N500,000 and one surety each.

He then adjourned the case to October 10, 2008, for hearing.


Driver Jailed 5 years For Manslaughter

An Osogbo magistrate court has sentenced a bus driver to five years imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine for killing a 35-year-old woman with his bus along Gbongan road in Osogbo.

The commercial bus driver, Wasiu Olajide, had earlier pleaded not guilty to the offence.

According to the charge sheet, the driver was said to have driven recklessly and caused a fatal accident which left the woman dead and many others injured.

The defence counsel, Mr. Tiamiyu Adegboyega, while applying for the bail of the driver said that he had earlier written to the prosecuting officer that they were ready to present sureties and an assurance that his client would not jump bail.

He argued that the offence is a bailable one and assured the investigating officer that the client would not in anyway interfere with the police investigation.

The prosecuting officer, Corporal Emmanuel Abdullahi argued that the accused should not be granted bail, stating that many drivers drove recklessly around the town, believing that when they get to court, they would be granted bail.

He also disclosed that the case at hend was a very fatal one, adding that it claimed the life of a woman, whose family were present in the court.

Abudullahi also argued that if every reckless driver is granted bail on the ground of liberal terms, the menace of reckless driving would continue to thrive in the society.

He added that the accused (the driver) should not be granted bail on the ground of ignorance of traffic law and for having no regard for human life.

The presiding magistrate in his judgment stated that, though the offence was a bailable one but because of the nature of its sensitivity to the public, the driver should be jailed for five years with an option of N500,000 which is payable within a week of the judgment.


Osun LG Bosses Jittery As Assembly Begins Councils’ Probe Probe

As all the 30 local government council chairmen in Osun State are undergoing interrogation before the state House of Assembly, some of the council bosses are reportedly jittery, as many of them could not withstand the interrogation by the House.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that some of the council bosses could eventually be found guilty of financial misappropriation, as virtually all the chairmen could not properly account for their spendings so far.

Among the council chairmen, found wanting was the chairman, Ifelodun local government council area of the state, Honourable Sarafadeen Awotunde, OSUN DEFENDER reliably gathered.

According to the source, Awotunde was queried on a controversial N550 million, which he reportedly could not account for.

It was learnt further that upon enquiry, the embattled chairman allegedly accounted for just N150 million, a situation that compelled the House panel of enquiry to ask him to account for the remaining N400 million naira.

Subsequently, the council boss, apparently confused, a situation that compelled him to appeal to the panel of enquiry to allow him go back home to perfect the documents relating to the issue at hand.

As at the time of filing this report, the medium gathered that the rattled council boss has not returned to the House with the said documents relating to the alleged misappropriation of funds.

It would be recalled that some angry youths recently attacked the council chairman, alleging that Awotunde has been misappropriating the local council funds without any developmental project in the area.

The youth accused the chairman of being a car freak, saying that he only purchases exotic cars at the expense of any development in the council area.

Besides, some aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in the area have been planning to influence some councillors in the council area on the need to impeach the embattled chairman.

Meanwhile, this medium gathered further from a reliable source that the ongoing interrogation of all the council bosses in the state was instigated by Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who reportedly expressed dissatisfaction about the performances of the chairmen.

It would be recalled that the governor was reported to have left the council bosses to their fate over the appeal filed against their December 15, 2007 election by the opposition political parities in the state.

The governor allegedly shunned the council bosses, saying that he was not satisfied with their performances since they assumed office about 10 months ago.

Aromolaran Charges LG Chairs On Security

The Owa Obokun, of Ijesaland Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran has solicited the support of the six local government councils in Ijesaland to make available logistics to the police and vigilance groups to fight the menace of armed robbers in his domain.

Oba Aromolaran made the call last Friday at a meeting held at Obokungbusi Town Hall with traditional rulers, chiefs and people of the ancient town and its environments.

According to the monarch, it was the responsibilities of chairmen of local government councils to provide necessary tools to the law enforcement agents to ensure security of the citizenry.

The Oba who was not happy at the absence of chairmen Ilesa East and West, urged them to provide logistics to the police and vigilance groups to combat armed robbers.

He said by doing so, people would be able to sleep with their two eyes closed, while banking operations and other businesses at Ilesa and beyond would get accelerated development.

While speaking at the meeting, the new Police Area Commander, Mr Jacob Atunise said he had engaged his Divisional police officers in a 24 hour patrol of Ijesaland, particularly Ilesa which had been the major focus of armed robbers, stating that the task has proved successful as for the past one month he resumed at Ilesa Area command, there had not been any report of armed robbery.

He said to maintain the tempo, the police would need support of the local government council chairmen in the area of logistics, as he enjoined the people to always report to the nearest police station information about dubious people in their midst, stating that the police treat such information with confidentiality.

Present at the meeting are police officers from the two police stations in Ilesa, representative of Road Safety Commander, Ilesa Unit, traditional rulers, chiefs and numerous indigenes of the ancient town including representatives of companies and banking industry in Ilesa.

Plan To Compromise Osun Workers Exposed

•Civil Societies, Opposition Rise Against It

Civil Society and opposition political parties in Osun State have taken Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to the cleaners over the plan to foist new Chinese cars on the senior staff of the state civil service, premising their criticism on poor remuneration package.

It would be recalled that a government-sponsored news journal in its recent edition, gave the plan to foist new Geely cars on the workers in form of loan facilities.

OSUN DEFENDER’s investigation on the salary structure scale revealed that Osun State civil servants and teachers are the least-paid government workers in the South West axis of the country.

Findings further showed that the labour leaders and some leading labour activists in the state have been compromised in such a way that none of them could provide any government policy an objective critique.

It was reliably gathered that some labour leaders, who championed workers’ rights during the administration of former Governor Bisi Akande have become full time contractors now; wining and dining with the political functionaries; while some of them, who are privileged to regain their lost jobs, have now developed protruding tummies.

Investigations also revealed that the compromised labour leaders are now supplying strategies for the government on how to keep the mouths of the aggrieved workers shut permanently on certain rights and benefits that are being trampled upon.

Investigations further showed that part of the plans to stem the unceasing demands for salary increase, supplied to government, by the compromised unionists is giving out of car to some senior civil servants and teachers; while the lowest cadre would be lent facilities for motorcycles, and fairly used cars.

It was learnt that with the new cars given to the senior workers and loan facilities for the junior cadre, they would be placed under a compromised position that would afford them no opportunity to demand for more like Oliver Twist.

Speaking against the plot, the National Coordinator, United Action for Democracy (UAD), Comrade Abiodun Aremu said that the new car scheme was not in the best interest of the workers, noting that the governor is embarking on the plan with a view to lining some private pockets at the expense of unsuspecting workers.

“It is quite pathetic that these people in government are perpetually mischievous and they are busy thinking on how the innocent would be blackmailed into submission to their corrupt enrichment,” Aremu submitted.

According to him, “the governor’s automobile interest in China is driving him badly into making Osun State a dumping ground. Workers should be empowered to make choice for themselves, as foisting news cars on them is against the rule, and I know that the beneficiaries of the suspicious loan facilities would not like it at the end of the day”.

In the same vein, the state Director of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Barrister Alfred Adegoke has counseled the state workers against taking the new Chinese cars from the government, arguing that such a largesse would put off their rights sooner than later.

Also speaking, the founder of Campaign for Democracy and the Rights of the People (CDRP), Alhaji Amitolu Shittu has questioned the rationale behind the suspicious scheme, saying that systematic slavery is suspected.

“The good workers of the state deserved capacity building and empowerment, not a greek gift that would permanently silence the dissenting voices. An average worker reserves the right to make a choice, including a car of his choice and he should not be made to appear helpless. The new car scheme is a trap and we shall mobilize workers against it,” said Amitolu.

Besides, the state chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP), Alhaji Waheed Lawal said that the government should address the issue of living wage first, before thinking of placing debt around the neck of innocent workers.

“Workers have right to good life, but it should not be at the expense of their freedom. We have seen the cars given to the political functionaries ,they have no clear effect on governance except that some politicians are flaunting wealth. How would a worker on the peanut salary, maintains his vehicle or is the government ready to make the car maintenance loan available every month?” Lawal puzzled.