Ondo APC, PDP trade blame over NULGE rally
• You’re seeking cheap popularity, Mimiko’s administration replies
• Olu Agunloye, Olusola Oke promise to end poverty
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the rival All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State have taken their battle over the coming governorship election in November 26 to the state workers.
Both parties have traded accusations over recent national conference of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) held in the state capital, Akure.
This was consequent upon a grand ‘thank you’ rally organised by the state chapter of NULGE in honour of Governor Olusegun Mimiko to appreciate him for what the workers described as his government’s unprecedented support for the welfare of local government workers in the state.
The National President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khalid, led the rally alongside other national and state officers, who began the procession from the state secretariat of NULGE along Ilesha Motor Park, enroute Oba Adesida Road to the Governor’s office.
But the Chairman, Research and Communications of Aketi Campaign Organisation, Mr. Kunle Adebayo, condemned the rally saying: “it is a desperate effort by the PDP to shore up support for its anointed candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.”
Adebayo accused Mimiko of hijacking the national conference of the Nigerian Union of Local government Employees (NULGE) for its political gains.He pointed out that: “what ought to be a solemn union congregation became a jamboree and praise singing session orchestrated by the government for personal and selfish gain.”
He said the saddest part of the whole episode was the fact that the council workers were forced to the event and compelled against their work ethics and professional oaths “to embark on the ignoble role of praise singing Mimiko and his activities.”
According to him, “This enduring policy of intimidation and coercion of innocent workers is a debasement of the values and oath of public service.
He recalled that the governor employed same strategy during the 2012 election, when he did not only force the same local government workers as part of his campaign train but also surreptitiously employed over 13,000 people into the workforce.”
He said no sooner was the campaign over than the same workers were retrenched and disgraced out of service. They were called ghost workers. Not minding that presently, Ondo state local government retirees are owed not less than N20 billion for pension and gratuities as well as workers six months salaries.
Adebayo enjoined the people of the state to resist attempts to play on their sensibilities “we condemn in strong terms the draconian decision of Mimiko to compel local government workers to wear vests and carry complimentary placards expressing support for his administration and policies and by extension his window dress candidate.
“Again we wish to drum it into the ears of the public, particularly the public servants that as the days of elections draw near such is the manner of antics to be expected from unpopular governments.”
But a Special Assistant to the governor, Mr. Sunday Menukuro, in a statement, said Akeredolu has only raised the issue to get a cheap popularity. He said Jegede was nowhere near the rally, which the APC eventually categorised as if the NULGE members have no minds of their own and could easily be manipulated or induced.
According to him, “Akeredolu obviously believes that the only way to get people support is to buy or coerce them.”Addressing the workers gathering, which comprised union members from the 18 councils, Khalid passed a vote of confidence on governor Mimiko, whom he claimed is sensitive to the plights of the workers.
He also thanked the governor for re-absorbing over 900 local government workers that were affected by the 2013 screening exercise and for the elevation of three local government officers to the position of permanent secretaries.
He said the level of infrastructural development under Mimiko in the areas of healthcare; education and urban renewal were marvelous.He added that the governor never closed his doors to them, especially when the issues of welfare of workers arose stressing “Mimimo has brought a new concept to governance in Ondo.”
Similarly, the Ondo NULGE President, Bunmi Eniayewu said despite the dwindling economic fortunes of the nation, which has affected revenue accruing to states, “promotions have been regular for all categories of workers that are due in the state. The 2016 promotion exercise has also been carried out without delay.”
Mimiko lauded the union for supporting his administration, noting that the only way to ensure the continuity of the good relationship is to vote for Mr. Jegede in the gubernatorial election.He assured the workers that his administration would not relent in promoting their welfare no matter the financial situation of the state.
Meanwhile, the candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dr. Olu Agunloye said on Sunday that the ruling party and APC are just buying time, as electorate would prove them wrong on November 26.
According to him, “We simply pray that the Federal Government would provide necessary security to ensure an atmosphere of peace where none of the desperate parties would take advantage of unforeseen situation.
“The people of Ondo are tired of the brigand approach to governance that the PDP perpetrated under outgoing governor Mimimo, as well as not favourably disposed to the desperation for power among the APC stalwarts. They were already yawning for new thing that the SDP is warming up to provide as soon as we took over power.”
He wondered why any serious party should go to the extent of compromising the state’s workforce because of their desperation for power.”Agunloye further appealed to Ondo electorate not to allow themselves as instrument in the hands of desperate politicians, saying: “What you have is the power of your vote. This is the time to say no to any external force in Ondo”
The candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Olusola Oke also admonished the electorate to vote right in order to rescue the state out of the abject state of poverty it has been reduced.
He noted that the present rulers of the state have proved what they have and that their best has not been able to redeem Ondo out of the woods. Oke promised to tackle poverty and unemployment in the state. He said, “All the intervention agencies alongside the state government would work seriously to rescue Ondo State from the current deplorable state of infrastructural development and take it to an enviable position the state deserves to be.“The peoples’ welfare would be given a pride of place in the scheme of things in our government,” he added.