by Segun Odeleye
Since the stunning electoral defeat of Ekiti governor, Kayode Fayemi, in the governorship poll two weeks ago, one incumbent governor who several pundits have mentioned as being at risk of a similar defeat next year is Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state.
One of Fayemi’s shortcomings according to Ekiti voters was his testy relationship with the state’s civil servants who felt that the governor did not give them their due. That same accusation is being thrown at gov. Amosun in Ogun, and just two weeks after Fayemi’s loss, it seems Amosun is working hard to warm his way into the hearts of the state’s workers.
Check out the promises the governor has made just in the last two weeks:
– Housing loans
– Car loans
– Employment of children of civil servants
– Payment of 13th month salary and
– Directive that all those employed by the administration of his predecessor Gbenga Daniel, whose appointments were terminated by his administration in 2011, should be reabsorbed.
To top it up, just yesterday, Gov. Amosun met with the leaders of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, and reached an agreement with them on their six-point demand so that their three-month-old strike can be called off.
As the governor personally read the resolutions reached with the union, the health workers were excited about the kind of concessions the governor gave them.
He mandated the board of the institution to urgently forward names of staff due for promotion for approval; he agreed to backdate payment of alleged 17 months Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHES) and 13 months arrears of Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Scale (CONTISS) to February 2011; and he agreed to pay the striking workers six months full salary beginning from July 2014.
He therefore called on them to call off the strike action.
“I mean well for our people. I don’t have any life again, everything is for my people. I will rather be a statesman than a good politician. What we are doing today is to boost your morale and assure you that we are on the same page in the development of Ogun and health sector.
“You all agree with me that we have not owed you a dime since we came on board. Though, we did not plan for the payment of arrears based on the agreement you had with the last administration, but in the spirit of oneness, we will pay N50m from July for the next six months out of the backlog,” Amosun said.
The Union Chairman, OOUTH Chapter, Comrade (Mrs) Kikelomo Enaholo thanked the governor for being magnanimous in his response, promising that, the union would not renege in giving its best for the government.
On his part, the JOHESU State Chairman, Olakanmi Abiodun, while commending the governor for his flexibility and statesmanship, said that when the union meets, “reason will prevail.”
Even opponents of Gov. Amosun have noted his sudden shift. Chief among the governor’s opponents is the Labour Party in the state which has as state leader, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. Daniel, who just like Ayo Fayose in Ekiti, became governor in 2003, defeating the then-incumbent governor in the state, Segun Osoba, is one of those leading the charge to oust Amosun from the Ogun Government House in 2015.
The Labour Party released a statement through its publicity secretary, Deji Kalejaiye, in which it described Gov. Amosun’s renewed relationship with the workers as “pathetic, most unfortunate and laughable.” The party claimed that it was funny that it took the loss of Gov. Fayemi in Ekiti to drive Gov Amosun to make “such desperate concessions.”
According to the LP, the move by Gov. Amosun is a desperate attempt to hoodwink the workers as the 2015 election is fast approaching since “the construction of roads that leads nowhere, unnecessary flyovers and totally irrelevant pedestrian bridge have been rejected by the pedestrians themselves because of its meaninglessness.”
The party urged the people of Ogun not to fall for “this deceit of a governor who has demonstrated his capacity as a pathological liar over the years.”