By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has kicked against sack and demotion of the Ekiti State Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Raphael Olaiya by Governor Ayodele Fayose.
SPN in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan signed by its Deputy National Chairperson (South-west), Comrade Bamigboye Abiodun also tasked the leadership of labour unions and civil society organizations to rise up and “fight for the recall of Olaiya and respect of democratic rights of workers side by side with the struggle against all anti-poor policies in the state”.
According to SPN, the Ekiti state TUC Chairman was asked “to proceed on immediate and compulsory retirement from the state civil service while at the same time demoted from grade level 12, as the principal legal officer, to the grade level 10”.
SPN in the statement stated that the allegation levelled against Mr Olaiya was that “he is actively involved in partisan politics and that he also granted an interview on both print and electronic media sometimes in October 2015 where he allegedly warned the state government against a possible diversion of bailout fund received from the FGN by state governments around that period to offset salary arrears in their respective states”.
“Going by this background, it is obvious that the sack and demotion of Mr Olaiya is a clear case of victimization. As a matter of fact, Mr Olaiya as a civil servant has not committed any offence for being actively involved in partisan politics, even if it is true. The right for a civil servant to form or be a registered member of a political party of his/her choice has been established in Supreme Court judgment in the case of INEC VS MUSA and OTHERS ” the party added.
SPN maintained that “the said ruling which was delivered by Justice Mohammed Uwais, former Chief Justice of Nigeria holds that “the provisions of section 40 of the constitution are very clear. The import is “every person” including public office holders and civil servants……since section 40 of the 1999 Constitution has specifically allowed every person the right to assemble and associate with any other person in order to inter-allia form or belong to any political party for the protection of his interest, I hold that both the provisions of section 79 subsection (2) (c) of the Electoral Act, 2001 and guideline No. 5(b) are inconsistent with the Constitution.”
The party pointed out that “worse still, the sack of Mr Olaiya because he warned the PDP-led government in the state in an interview against a possible diversion of bailout fund is a frontal assault on fundamental and democratic right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in the section 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FGN)”.
SPN emphasized that Mr. Olaiya, “as a labour leader in the state, has not flouted any law for warning the Fayose-led government not to divert the bailout fund from the main purpose it is expected to serve especially when this is to ensure that the socio- economic right of his members are adequately promoted and defended”.
“In light of this, the SPN demands that Fayose/PDP-led administration in the state must immediately and unconditionally recall Mr Olaiya, and reiterates the call on labour movement to fight against all forms of anti-poor policies in the state”.
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.