Two opposition parties in Ogun State – Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party – have condemned the outright sack and suspension of some labour leaders by the state government.
The government had on Monday dismissed the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Akeem Ambali, and his Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, counterpart, Dare Ilekoya.
It also dismissed 14 other members of the state chapter of the NUT and suspended 16 other members of the union for their roles in organising the 2016 World Teachers Day Celebration last month.
Olusola Adeyemi, the Head of Ogun Public Service, announced the sack in Abeokuta in a statement entitled: “Government position on the recommendation of panel of inquiry set up to investigate alleged misconduct of executive members of the NUT on the 2016 World Teachers Day Celebrations held on October 5.”
The action by the All Progressives Congress-led government came 11 days after Ogun workers embarked on an indefinite strike.
The PDP and the LP, in separate statements, said the government’s decision to punish the workers were not necessary.
The PDP, in the statement signed by its spokesperson, Bolaji Adeniji, said it was jolted by the government’s action, because it was “inexcusable, baseless, and reckless”.
It alleged that the decision to punish the workers was not unconnected with the ongoing workers’ strike called by the labour leaders.
It said, “We are further scandalized at government’s defence and rationalisation of the sack claiming it was the outcome of an administrative panel of inquiry into the activities of the affected officers during the October 5, 2016 World Teachers Day celebration where they were indicted to have gotten involved in partisan politics by receiving monies from politicians and hiring a musician to sing the praises of politicians present at the event, which to government, are contrary to extant public service rules.
“What government has forgotten is that, whereas, the public service rules clearly stipulates terms of engagement for workers, it is not superior to the federal constitution which guarantees the freedom of expression and association among other liberal rights.”
The PDP said the government ought to know that the Nigerian Union of Teachers was not its (government) affiliate and therefore members were at liberty to invite any indigene of the state or anybody outside the state to celebrate their day with them.
It also said the government needed to be educated that the World Teachers Day was not a civil service function but a social event of like-minded people that could attract anybody irrespective of their social or political leaning, “except of course government is saying civil servants must compulsorily be members of the APC”.
“We are constrained to observe the antidemocratic tendencies of this administration that is now pervasive,” the PDP said.
“We are not in a military junta and neither is Ogun state a banana republic where the right of citizens are eroded and anything goes.
“We recall the unwarranted physical brutalization of the same labour leaders at the start of this strike two weeks ago; now, a kangaroo panel has sacked them.
“Instead of government to tow the honourable path of negotiating with Labour and accede to their legitimate demands, it has chosen the draconian path that is unprecedented in the history of Ogun state.”
The party said it sympathised with the labour activist and all civil servants in the state over the unsavoury situation they found themselves.
The LP, in the statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Abayomi Arabambi, and secretary, Olaposi Ogini, said the punitive action by the government was uncalled for.
It likened it to the proverbial expression of a wicked father who beat up his child and expect him not to cry.
“It may interest you to know that the Governor of Ogun State has suddenly turned himself to Empreror Caeser, who in his reign ruled without mercy,” the party said.
“For us as a party, we condemn the actions of the governor as lawless, illegal, heartless, evil, callous, devilish and must be condemn by all both national and international community.”
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