“Save Our Souls “- Osun State Government Workers

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For eight months, we have been denied our legitimate monthly wages by the current government of Osun State. Several pensioners have died due to the failure of government to fulfil its obligations to its employees. The economy is comatose as people continue to starve as a result of maladministration and profligacy of the government.   We have heard that the state government is mooting the idea of reducing our monthly salaries by 50 per cent. The last that workers were paid was half the salaries of December, 2014, yet the Osun State government has embarked on massive propaganda that it has fulfilled its contractual obligation to workers. This is far from the truth and our creditors, including landlords and food sellers have been running after us to pay our mounting debts.

It is for this reason that we have decided to cry out and to implore well-meaning people to prevail on the State Government of Osun  current government of Osun State not to continue its callous and wicked posture to the people of the State, particularly the working class that has continued to bear the brunt of profligacy, lack of planning and vision. So far, the Aregbesola administration has been  insensitive to the feelings of the people of the state, with the government, through all its actions, indicating  that it is committed only to enriching the pockets of members  and sympathisers of the All Progressives Congress, majority of whom are resident outside Osun State.

Osun State has never had is this bad. For over 8 months, salaries of public servants and monthly pensions of retirees have not been paid as they receive succour from outside the State in terms of relief materials as if they are refugees in their own state.Since the inception of the current Government of the State of Osun in 2010, the trend of capital flight to Lagos has been massive and disturbing, while the people of Osun State, who are owners of the state’s resources continue to be impoverished through deliberate neglect and siphoning of resources of the state by people who are not indigenes of Osun State, and who no stake in the development and future of the state. Sadly, government has given preference to contractors and suppliers from outside Osun State, to the detriment of the State's economy. For instance, the neglect of qualified businesses in the state is one of the reasons for the comatose  economy of Osun State with the attendant inability of the state government to pay not only salaries and pensions of workers, and retirees for eight months; but also. its inability to settle its contractual debts running into several billions of naira, owed various financial institutions.

The latest in the series of atrocities that is designed to rob the people of Osun State is the planned forceful acquisition of government lands at the Government Reserved Area, Gbongan road Osogbo, and the Property Development Corporation Estate, Akoda, following alleged inability of owners to develop. The lands in question are about 500 hectares and were allocated to different people, mostly workers by government. Most of the allottees are employees engaged in the the public service of Osun State, teachers and retirees. We do not know the propriety of this planned forceful take over of our lands  in spite of the fact that government has failed to provide no infrastructure on the areas occupied by these parcels of land being earmarked for reallocation to people from Lagos State.

Workers note with regret that Osun State government now plans to acquire the lands and allocate these to private developers from Lagos, who are prepared to pay those in government bribes and illegal sizeable amounts, as part of the underhand deals that would enrich the pockets of a few people in government. According to complaints, the plan is to use the governor’s power to revoke all certificates of occupancy of those having titles on the lands under the pretext that the lands have not been developed by those to whom they have been allocated.

The questions now on the lips of workers and people of Osun State are: Why revoke titles to lands at a period when the state government cannot pay salaries and pensions to its workers and retirees? Why has Osun State government not provided infrastructure on the land it is planning to acquire illegally for outsiders from Lagos State to be able to move in to take possession and develop our  lands? Why take this action when people are starving and dying? Why take over the lands of poor people with intent to allocate to outsiders with business interests. Sadly, these intending beneficiaries have no stake in the development of Osun State. Is it right and sensible to start revocation of titles on lands mostly owned by workers and retirees by a government that is insensitive and has not paid salaries and pensions for eight months?

Other posers requiring answers are:  Will the land developers from Lagos to whom the lands are to be re-allocated bring residents from Lagos, other places outside Osun State, or even the moon, or other planets  to purchase lands genuinely owned by workers and retirees who have been denied their entitlements for eight months? We have discovered that the questionable underhand deal is coming at a time when Osun State workers who own large parts of the lands are currently impoverished as a result of maladministration.

We wish to point out that Sensible people know that it is wrong for any government to acquire lands forcefully without providing infrastructures for development ,and also giving notice to owners to develop. How can a reasonable government embark on this senseless exercise at this period? Is it not the responsibility of sensitive governments to provide housing laons t its workers as done by Obafemi Awolowo whom they now ape today? What will the people of Osun State gain from this exercise that is designed to benefit outsiders? What becomes of Ede people from whom the lands were acquired? We say it is patently wrong and callous for any government to deprive people of their lands for the purpose of enriching a few collaborators from outside Osun State, and a few people in government,  under the guise of development.It is very clear that there is no worker in Osun State today who can afford to develop any property as a result of the failure of government to fulfil its obligation to workers and the people. Is it reasonable to deprive workers and people of Osun State their lands at this sensitive period for self-serving interests? Will those people who have the means to purchase houses under the proposed wicked plan come from the moon or mars, or any other planet because the economy of Osun State at the moment cannot support such a venture?

We understand that some of the former state commissioners who served in the last Aregbesola administration still come to offices surreptitiously to work and supervise civil servants in spite of the fact that their appointments have lapsed and they have not been screened for fresh appointments by the Osun State House of Assembly. One of these Commissioners who resides outside Osun State, in collaboration with a very top official of the Aregbesola administration in the Governor's office that was re-appointed, is said to be the anchor of this senseless exercise designed to rob the people of Osun State of their legitimate entitlements and provide slush funds for people in power.  It is sad that a government that claims to be progressive is taking retrogressive anti-people policies for pecuniary considerations.

We ask well-meaning people, other political parties apart from the APC whose leaders appear to be conspirators, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and other stakeholders in and outside our state, to please call the Osun State government to order. It will not be long from now, when the All Progressive Party comes back to solicit for our votes. How we wished all these anti-workers and anti-people polices had been enacted before the last general elections in Osun State. We are waiting for the local government elections, if there would be money to stage it, before using our votes to show APC our strength.

Mr J.A. Adewale