Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN,CON on Tuesday said his administration has fulfilled its promise not to owe workers’ salaries in the state.
Governor Akeredolu, who disclosed that government has already paid up till November, 2022, explained that the December salary was delayed on the advice of the Labour leaders to allow workers meet new year financial obligations.
The Governor assured that the December salary will be paid soon, while promising that the one month remaining from the inherited seven months salary arrears will also be paid before the end of his tenure.
“As you are aware, you received three alerts in December. We paid October and November, 2022. You also received leave bonus. We would have paid December but the Labour leaders advised that we delay it till January to allow you meet financial obligations. Students will resume soon. We will pay school fees.
“Also,we inherited seven months salary arrears, we paid six. Before I leave office, I will pay the remaining one.” He said.
Governor Akeredolu spoke at the Annual Prayer Meeting with Public Servants on the first working day of the year, held at the Governor’s park, Governor’s office, Akure, the state capital.
He assured that his administration would continue to give priority consideration to the well-being of the Public Service amidst competing demands from other segments of the State.
The Governor noted that in spite of the State’s lean resources, his administration will continue to do more and not shy away from its responsibility.
Arakunrin Akeredolu said he was glad to hear good testimonies on payment of salaries, prompt promotion, regular elevation, payment of inherited salary arrears and leave bonus.
He also described as heartwarming, the workers’ testimonies on the new Duty Tour Allowance, training and retraining, provision of working tools and enabling environment for the service to thrive, among others.
The Governor further assured of his administration’s resolve to improve the quality of lives of the people and deliver on promises.
Arakunrin Akeredolu thanked all public servants in the State for their cooperation, particularly the organised Labour for their understanding.
He explained that without the commitment of the workforce, his administration would not have recorded the modest feats achieved in its policy thrust.
On the 2023 General Elections, the Governor called on civil servants and the people at large to play by the rules while exercising their franchise at the poll.
“Let me reiterate for the umpteenth time that public servants are not expected to be involved in partisan politics. Absolute loyalty and commitment should be the watchword of the service.
“Again, political discourse should be civil with decorum and in statutory manner. You will note that our Administration has insulated the bureaucracy from partisan politics.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele disclosed that 8,415 Public Servants across the State were promoted with financial benefits in 2022.
While thanking the Governor for his continued support in all areas pertaining to issues affecting public servants in the State, the Head of Service described the Governor as worker-friendly.
“Thanks to Arakunrin’s commitment to workers’ welfare in ensuring the payment of all outstanding salaries. The present administration, in a bid to reduce shortfall in the workforce, has continued to recruit fresh hands in the critical areas of need.
“For instance, 52 temporary staff of the Ondo State Emergency Medical Services Agency (ODEMSA) were recently given permanent appointments. Moreover, Ondo State workers and retirees have had a new lease of life under this Administration.
“For instance, a number of staff of the Owena Press Limited who retired long years ago received their gratuities last month. The Orange Health Insurance Scheme (ORANGHIS) was inaugurated to give public servants and their immediate family members access to qualitative health care in preferred health facility of choice at low or no cost.” Ogundele said.
In his remarks, the chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Comrade Oluwole Sunday-Adeleye thanked the Governor for prioritising workers’ welfare.
He disclosed that Governor Akeredolu has paid 76 months salaries within the 70 months and one week of his administration.
“Let me say this clearly with every pride in me, on behalf of workers of Ondo State, that Arakunrin Akeredolu has spent 70 months and one week as the Governor of Ondo State, and he has paid 76 months salaries.” He said.
In his exhortation, the Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, Ondo Province and Bishop of Akure Anglican Diocese, Bishop Oluwole Borokini, congratulated the people for making it to the new year.
He admonished the workers to be loyal, committed to duties and shun corrupt practices in all their activities.
The prayer meeting was attended by the deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa; Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun; Acting Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olusegun Odusola; members of the State Executive Council; Bishop of Owo Anglican Diocese, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi; the Founder of Agape Christian Ministries, Bishop Felix Adejumo; the state CAN chairman, Bishop Anselm Ologunwa; PFN chairman in the state, Bishop Joshua Opayinka; State Pastor, Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor Jacob Osubiojo; APC state chairman, Ade Adetimehin; heads of security agencies in the state; top government functionaries and public servants, among several dignitaries.