The Day Bailout Palaver Hits Ekiti - Vanguard

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This indeed has not been the
best of times for Ekiti State, as
hardly a week goes by without
one form of public protest or the
other. Just as that of the
organised labour was being settled, protests for and against
the activities Economic and
Financials Crimes Commission,
EFCC, by the two major political
parties, the All Progressives
Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the
state erupted. As if in a battle not
to be out done by others, angry
workers of the Ekiti State
university, late last week locked
down their institution. The entire workforce of the
University marched to the
entrance gate of the 34 year old
institution protesting the none -
payment of six month
subventions, salary arrears as well as cooperative deductions.
They lampooned the state
government for compounding
their woes over its failure to pay
the subventions due to the
school since January this year, adding that for over six months
now, all has not been well with
the University in terms of the
funding, especially concerning
adequate payment of the staff’s
salaries and other emoluments. But both the varsity’s
management and the state
government seem to have been
managing the situation by
perfectly well before now,
persuading the staff to be patient.
Thereby making everyone to
believe that the institution is
faring well, paying its staff
salaries as at when due and
thereby making the workers happy. Praises and encomium This feat got the Vice Chancellor,
Professor Oye Bandele the praise
and ecomium of Governor
Ayodele Fayose, who expressed
delight at the way and manner
the University management has been able to cater for the staff
welfare and emoluments since
January, inspite of his
administration‘s failure to pay its
subventions since December,
2015. This is due to dwindling allocation from the Federation
account, occasioned by the
sharp fall in oil price in the
international market.
Governor Fayose, who is the
visitor to the university and had graced the institution’s 21st
convocation held recently at the
University campus, had
appreciated the school
management for having
performed admirably well in financing the school’s payment
of staff salaries and emoluments
without receiving due
subventions from his
government for six months.
Attributing the development to the university’s management’s
initiative in some investment
such as its new brick-making,
bread baking and Information
Technology ventures among
others, the governor gave the impression that the investments
have assisted in shoring up the
Internally Generated Revenue
(IGR) of the school, hence the
payment of staff salaries and
other emoluments hasn’t been a problem.
His words: “I want to appreciate
the governing council of the
university for your efforts and
outstanding performance at a
time like this when financing government has become a huge
challenge in the face of the
dwindling federal allocations.
Your performance for the six
months has been
commendable.” The bubble bursts But on Monday, July 11, it
seemed the patience of the staff
of the institution had been
stretched beyond its limits as
they paralyzed academic and
administrative activities in protest against what they
alleged as non-payment of six-
month subventions, salary
arrears as well as non-
remmittance of cooperative
deductions from their salaries into the accounts of three
cooperative societies of the
workers in the school.
Alleging that they have found
out that the governor was
making efforts to exclude them from the bail-out it just received
from the federal government,
the protesting staff prevented
vehicular and human movement
in and out of the institution as
they ensured that its giant gate was under lock and key.
Many vehicles were parked
outside as many of the staff and
students loitered about in front
of the school gate.
The unions who participated in the protest include National
Association of Area
Technologists (NAT), Non-
Accademic Staff Union of
Universities (NASAU), Senior Staff
Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and
Academic Staff Union of
Universities (ASSUU) among
others.
According to them, contrary to
government’s position that the institution’s recent investment in
some ventures to shore up its
Internally Generated Revenue
(IGR), has made it capable of
taking care of paying salary,
emoluments and renumerations, all is not well, as the
management has allegedly been
able to pay a paltry 20 per cent
of the staff’s salary arrears since
January this year.
They maintained that the management had failed to live
up to its responsibilities due to
the failure of the state
government to pay subventions
since January this year. Their plight Speaking about their plight,
Chairman of SSANU, Mr.Kolapo
Olatunde, said: “The state
government released the
universities’ subvention last in
December last year, which means since January, we haven’t
been getting the subventions.
The government has
erroneously believed that the
management take care of the full
salary payment without the subvention. But the reality is that
we have only been receiving
20% of our salaries since
January till date with deductions,
and even the deductions were
not remitted into the accounts of the cooperative societies on
campus.”
“We also heard that the state
government is not putting EKSU
in the agenda of bail-out from
the federal government given erroneous impression that all is
well with us, whereas we have
been suffering in silence.
Chairman of NAT, Engineer
Awogbemi Omobola, attributed
the non-payment of the staff’s full salary to the fact that the
institution has exhausted all its
available resources to pay net
salaries of workers. He said: “The
institution has even been
struggling to augment the payment of 20% of salary with
N250 million monthly from the
IGR. We have remained patient
with the management because it
has been trying, but with this
protest, we want to tell Ekiti and the world that they should not
allow the insitution to collapse as
this is the only asset the state
has.
Mr. Tope Akanmu, the
institution’s NASU chairman who itemized their demands, urged
the government to resume the
payment of monthly subvention
to the institution and also
include it in the bailout scheme
from the federal government. He lamented that despite series of
letters written to the state
government prior to the last
convocation in June, nothing
has been done to alleviate the
suffering of the institution’s staff, “ he said. Reactions and denials Reacting to the allegation leveled
against the government on the
bail-out funds, Ekiti State
Commissioner for Information,
Hon. Lanre Ogunsuyi, denied the
allegation that the government was planning to exclude the
institution’s staff from benefiting
from the bail-out funds it just
received, adding that such
rumour was being peddled by
social media as well as some hostile newspapers who do not
mean well for the government.
His words: “ It is not true that
Ekiti State government is
excluding the staff of EKSU from
the bail-out scheme. The issue of the bail-out scheme and how it
would be disbursed to pay
workers’ outstanding salaries is
yet to even be discussed.
Governor Fayose cannot do
anything that would be to the detriment of the staff of the
institution because he has their
welfare in his heart as they
remain part of the civil servants
in the state. The rumour of the
alleged exclusion is being mischievously peddled by the
opposition through some social
media platforms and some
newspapers who are hostile to
the government and are bent on
destroying the image of the government.
On the contrary, the governor is
working towards ensuring that
all the civil servants in the state
get what is due them in the
shortest possible time, “ he said.