By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti.
Strong indications have emerged that cold war may have now punctured the ‘rapport’ between the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and leaders of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), as the governor was accused of sacking three of their members for resisting alleged diversion of a sum of N1.24 billion to pay allowances of the Local Government’s political heads.
This accusation was contained in a letter dated 13th March, 2017 and signed by NULGE’s State Secretary, Com. Muyiwa Cole, which was addressed to some top government officials in the state.
They said the union’s State Deputy President, Com O.B. Olatunde, was allegedly queried over the matter and dismissed from service by the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) on the order of the governor.
The letter added that two other NULGE top notches, Com. Akeem Alaketu, the Ado-Ekiti Banch Chairman and his counterpart in Ijero council area, Owounni Olaoluwa, also suffered similar fate.
The NULGE leaders maintained that the one billion naira was resolved at the meeting of January, 2017, which they held with council bosses that the money should be used for the payment of outstanding balance of July and August, 2016 of local government staff and primary school teachers.
NULGE stated that they had made entreaties to the governor so that the matter could be resolved amicably, but said all efforts had not yielded any fruitful result.
“The union wish to inform your office of the threat to industrial peace this action may lead to if not curtailed on time”, the letter stated.
The NULGE leaders alleged further that “At the Joint Account Allocation Committee(JAAC) meeting of 2nd March,2017,the issue of payment of July and August salaries to LG workers and primary school teachers generated furore.
“This was as a result of the insistence of the LGs’ Council Chairmen to divert the money totaling one million, four hundred million,sixty six thousand,two hundred and seventy naira to settle their furniture allowance,2016 leave bonus and October 2016 salary.
“The union representative at the meeting (NULGE Deputy State President) reminded the chairmen that it was the resolution of the JAAC at its January meeting when the money was being stepped down to pay it in February allocation.
He advised the chairmen not to divert the salary for it will affect the already distressed and depressed workers.
“The resistance and agitation of the union forced the meeting to adjourn leading to intervention of the governor who summoned a meeting for Tuesday,March 7, 2017. Though the meeting did not hold, but the governor directed the payment of July 2016 alone while the balance of August be utilized for the payment of the chairmen allowances and bonus.
“This was when workers are already owed arrears of eight month salaries,2015,2016 and balance of 2014 leave bonuses”;
The union said they could not comprehend the reason for the
governor’s action against the union,when “we have no issue
whatsoever with the government either real, perceived or contemplated”.
NULGE said it has consistently appealed to members to show understanding with government in spite of inability to pay salaries, describing this action as unwarranted and needless.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information and Youth Development in the state, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi when contacted said it was only the Governor that could react to the allegations.