The Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party in Ekiti State have raised dust over claims by the All Progressives Congress that it had received the endorsement of the National Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE) for the forthcoming governorship election.
Both the SDP and the PDP are contending that the endorsement was a ruse in the face of the hardship currently facing the local government employees in the state.
“It is not possible for any local government employee to endorse the APC candidate, Biodun Oyebanji,” Jackson Adebayo, the spokesperson for the SDP campaign organisation, said.
“The employees are being owed several months of unpaid salaries and their monthly deductions were not remitted so that they can’t have access to their cooperative loans.”
Mr Adebayo argued that the said endorsement was either faked or forced and could not have been done in good fate.
The NULGE endorsement reportedly came on Friday, in Ado Ekiti, by its leadership team, led by Babatunde Olatunde.
The union made the declaration while meeting with the Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), Samuel Abejide, and members of his board.
Mr Olatunde was quoted as saying that local government workers would support Mr Oyebanji, for having the same focus as Kayode Fayemi in his campaign policy statement.
He said the council workers had enjoyed industrial harmony and professional growth since Governor Fayemi came on board in 2018.
The NULGE boss also noted that the union had to support political activities that would ensure sustenance of the new lease of life being enjoyed by workers under the Fayemi administration, which he said could only be guaranteed if Mr Oyebanji came in as governor.
“We will not allow anybody that we can’t ascertain his sincerity to deceive us and later destroy our future,” he said.
“We trust Fayemi’s administration and whatever his administration stands for. This is not about playing politics. This is about our future. Even if it is about playing politics, the Nigerian Law supports us. That is why we have Labour Party in Nigeria. It is workers’ party.”
The spokesperson for the Bisi Kolawole Campaign Organisation, Lere Olayinka, said the endorsement by NULGE was a government design to deceive the people, noting that no local government employee would vote as NULGE on election day.
“As I speak to you, workers in the local government are owed several months of unpaid salaries and other entitlements,” he said.
“When you are talking about endorsement, some of them were forced to buy party stickers on public vehicles. That is how bad it is.
“Recently they said EKSU Alumni Association endorsed Oyebanji, how can that be when the same alumni were among those who were sacked by the same people?
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“The truth is that these local government employees will vote on election day and everybody will be there to answer the name of their parents.”
Mr Abejide, while speaking for the LGSC, said there was no promise made to local government workers during the campaign in 2018 that was not fulfilled by Mr Fayemi.
He noted that the lapses created by former administrations were faithfully redressed to give a new face to the local government system in terms of welfare, professionalism, and career growth like never before.
“We also have elevation of CHEW/CHO, GL. 14 to Deputy Directors (Community Health) Cadre GL.15; regular payment of pensions and gratuities with N943,195,825.94 already paid as gratuity to retired local government staff and primary school teachers between October 2018 to date; and upgrade of the Local Government Staff Training School to Ekiti State Institute of Local Government Studies, Ilawe-Ekiti, a diploma-awarding institution,” he said.
“We have disbursed car loans worth N41,330,000.00 between October 2018 and March 2021 while housing loans gulped N339,205,000.00 within the same period, even as N2,000,000.00 was disbursed as ‘Quick Loan’ to workers.
“The Commission carried out migration of officers to the Procurement Officers’ Cadre; harmonisation of Nursing Officers/Nursing Assistants and Chief Matrons’ Cadre GL. 14 to Assistant Directors’ (Nursing); elongation of Nurses to the Directorate Cadre while some nurses have been promoted either to the rank of Director of Nursing Services or Director of Health Education, Grade Level 16.”
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