Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Aregbesola Government Should Accede to the Demands of Lecturers and Medical Officers in Osun State

Aregbesola Government Should Accede to the Demands of Lecturers and Medical Officers in Osun State

Government should pay all outstanding salaries, deductions and pensions of workers

Aregbesola should Stop Bullying the Press

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State, bemoans the failure of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola-led Osun State government to accede to the genuine demands of the academic staff unions of four state-owned polytechnics and colleges of education in Osun State (Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke; Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, and Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun). This obstinate decision of the Aregbesola government to avoid addressing the welfare demands of lecturers in these four institutions has led to closure of the four institutions for over three months.

These demands include abrogation of the exploitative Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), which the Aregbesola government aside not remitting deductions made from workers’ salaries for the CPS, has refused to fund. This has meant workers on the Scheme losing huge sums of money that should accrue to their pension accounts. This will surely put workers in terrible condition when they finally retire as their retirement benefits will be too small to maintain decent living. The DSM fully support the demand of the lecturers under the umbrella of Council of Academic Staff of Osun State Tertiary Institutions (CASUOSTI) for the cancelation of this exploitative Contributory Pension Scheme, which we have constantly and consistently maintained is aimed at denying workers a living pension while guaranteeing huge profits for private financial concerns. We maintain that the government and employers generally have the responsibility to provide decent living pension for retirees, who committed their adult life to work.

Other demands of CASUOSTI include full payment of their withheld salaries and remittance of all withheld deductions from their salaries, full implementation of the lecturers’ salary scale, employment of more academic staffs and adequate funding of tertiary education in Osun State. Most of these demands have been lingering for years, and have been the cause of industrial disharmony in the four tertiary institutions in the state. This has meant that the four institutions been shut down as a result of industrial strike for more than two and half years in the past five years of Aregbesola government. This has resulted in decline in standard of education received by students. This clearly shows the retrogressive character of the Aregbesola government, which has refused to lift education out of the doldrums the Oyinlola/PDP government, left it.

Rather than accede to these genuine demands of CASUOSTI, the government has been bullying and threatening the lecturers. While the government has purportedly directed schools to open register for lecturers, the government has been selling the idea of merging the four institutions and reducing the workforce by half. This is clearly ridiculous. Currently, the four institutions are understaffed with many departments having less than three government-employed academic staffs. With a current population of almost four million, what Osun State need is not closure of any of the institutions but proper funding of education at all level, in order to made education accessible to all.

We Support Medical and Dental Officers’ Demands

We in the DSM also fully stand by the medical and dental officers in the employment of the Osun State government who have been denied their salaries for months. Just like the lecturers and other workers, Aregbesola government has been denying doctors their salaries for month, even after using workers’ name to collect bailout from federal government. Aside this, the medical officers under the banner of Osun State Association of Medical and Dental Officers (OSAMDO) are demanding proper funding of hospitals which have been denied adequate running grants for months. It is terrible that Aregbesola government has destroyed public health sector with underfunding of hospitals, understaffing and poor remuneration of medical workers, which have resulted in incessant strikes in the health sector, including the current strike. This is made worse by the non-payment of workers’ salaries and subsequent destruction of Osun State economy, which has caused high mortality in the state among working class and poor people.

We call for immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and refund of all unremitted deductions from medical officers’ and workers’ salaries. We also call for the immediate provision of adequate running grants for hospitals, employment of more medical officers and health workers and proper funding of health sector by the Aregbesola government. As far as we in the DSM are concerned, while we acknowledge that the ruling political class in all the ruling parties (PDP, APC, LP, etc.) have collectively destroyed Nigeria’s economy and left it at underdeveloped state, we hold that there are enough resources in Osun State to make living worthwhile for the majority; only if the government stop handing public resources to its contractor patrons and politicians, and retrieve billions looted and mismanaged funds by politicians in the state.

We call for full payment of all salary arrears of workers and pensions of public sector retirees by the Aregbesola government. We condemn the underhand tactics being employed by the Aregbesola government to deny workers and retirees full payment of their salaries and pensions even after using their name to collect the N34.9 billion bailout from federal government. We call on workers in Osun State to mount pressure on their leaders to call Congresses of Workers and Retirees to decide the next line of action in order to get their withheld salaries and pensions.

Stop Bullying the Press

The DSM also condemns the bully tactics of the Aregbesola government against the press and dissent views in Osun State. The latest statement credited to the governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, threatening some media organizations, is part of the long list of repressive actions of the Aregbesola government. Previously, the government, which has been living on money-induced propaganda, had undertaken repression of dissent views in the state. DSM members were arguably the first people to be attacked by the security agencies, acting on the instruction ofthe government in June this year. Subsequently, the government mobilized its shock-troopers otherwise called State Boys to attack protesters, including retirees, who protested against non-payment of salaries and pensions in July. Less than two weeks after, the same State Boys attacked a newspaper stand along Gbongan-Ibadan road in Osogbo, for entertaining dissent views against the government.

These repressive activities, including the latest ‘declaration of war’ on media in Osun State by the Aregbesola government, show that the government is unpopular, based on its anti-poor, pro-rich policies that have impoverished vast majority of the population. Only a government that is unpopular will resort to use of brute force, terror and bully to silence dissent views. We demand end to these repressive activities of the Aregbesola government. We also call on anti-graft agencies and the Buhari government to undertake a full probe of the finances of the Aregbesola government, which we believe has mismanaged and misappropriated Osun State finance.

Alfred Adegoke
State Coordinator
Kola Ibrahim
State Secretary