Unpaid Salaries: Oyo Takes Another Bold Step, Forms Committees
In order to introduce radical changes to the education sector and improve the living conditions of civil servants and other citizens of the state, the state government again, taken some steps. And one of such is that the Vice Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin, and Secretary to Oyo State Government, Mr. Olalekan Alli, are to head the education reform initiative and unpaid salaries committees respectively.
The inauguration of the 31-member education reform committee and government/labour committee on unpaid salaries, wages and pensions took place at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office, in Ibadan, on Tuesday.
Also on the reform committee were Prof. Tajudeen Akanji of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan; representatives of Olubadan, labour, market, religious and private sectors, among others.
The wages committee also has as members including the Deputy National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Peters Adeyemi; State Vice Chairman of the Union, Mr. Bayo Titilola-Sodo; State Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensions, Mr. Segun Abatan, among others.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Governor of the State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Adeyemo, said that the ceremony was a good omen for amicable resolution of the impasse between the government and labour.
He charged members of the committees to work round the clock to ensure that the wheel of progress of the state was further propelled.
The education reform committee was given one month within which to carry out its assignment, while the salaries and wages committee was mandated to turn in its report within ten days.
The governor said that the event had further availed the government and members of the committees the opportunity to collectively reinvent the pacesetting status of the state.
He said that the committees should tackle the factors inhibiting the sustenance of the enviable educational and intellectual status of the state, a legacy which he said was bequeathed by past leaders of the state.
Ajimobi said, “I boldly and proudly refer to the dignifying educational attainment of the former Western Region/State, the chore of which is the present Oyo State.
“Part of this is our endowment with the premier university in the country; seven international research institutes; the first architectural masterpiece in Africa, South of Sahara, built from our industry in agriculture; as well as other numerous firsts and outstanding status.’’
Ajimobi recalled the 2012 Education Summit organized by the state government which, he said, was aimed at finding solutions to the `unacceptable performance of students’ in public examinations, especially the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE).
He said that the outcome of the summit informed the step by his administration to call for a stakeholders’ forum to address the management of public secondary schools in the state.
The governor, however, expressed regret over what he called the unpleasant response from a section of the public to the proposal, insisting that the administration would not be deterred by the falsehood being peddled around on the initiative.
He said that the inauguration of the joint labour/government committee on wages was necessitated by the disagreement between government and labour on the outstanding salaries and pensions.
Ajimobi stressed that the government was open to dialogue to resolve the matter in spite of the decision of labour to call workers out on strike without declaring a trade dispute as required by labour law.
According to the governor, the decision of labour was more painful taking into cognizance a subsisting agreement between governments and labour upon which the government had not reneged.
Ajimobi appealed for greater understanding of the poor financial status of the state which, he said, was not peculiar to Oyo.
The SSG, who headed the salaries/pensions resolution committee, pledged members’ determination to finding an amicable resolution to the ongoing industrial disharmony.
On his part, Gbadegesin noted that public education had always been participatory and solicited the extension of the gesture to primary and tertiary education as well.
He used the opportunity to announce the extension of the submission of memoranda by interested parties to Friday, July 15, 2016, saying this was to further widen the scope of public inputs to the issue at stake.
The terms of reference of the education reform initiative committee included a review of the educational status of the state; review of the standard of education in public secondary schools.
It was also mandated to generate, collate and analyse the memoranda so far submitted on the participatory management of public schools.
The committee is also to ensure intensive consultations with relevant and interested stakeholders on the subject matter and to do a comparative analysis of the existing model and other result-oriented models on participatory school management.
Other terms of reference include examination of other issues relevant to the subject matter, recommendation of plausible participatory management options and to proffer effective means of enhancing the overall standard of education in the state.