Sunday, May 29, 2016 7:37 pm
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State today took stock of his six years in office as he described the pre-2011 era as a dark period in the history of the state.
Governor Ajimobi in his speech to mark 2016 democracy day said, “That was a time when brigandage, violence and insecurity ruled the land. That was the best forgotten era when heaps of refuse dotted the landscape, when public servants went about with ebbing morale, when leadership mediocrity turned our state into a pariah among our peers in the country. The ranking of Ibadan, the state capital, as second dirtiest in the country was a major stain that I found unacceptable. As expected, international development partners, as well as local and foreign investors stayed away, refusing to touch us even with a long pole”.
He noted, “As a first step towards restoring sanity into the system, we moved swiftly to clamp down on rampaging marauders and outlawed the then National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, which had become a law unto itself; their kingpins were quickly whipped into line. Thus, Ibadan gradually became an investors’ destination judging by the unprecedented number of industries and commercial enterprises we have attracted. Citizens began to sleep with their two eyes closed, a luxury that had eluded them for many years”.
Ajimobi said that thereafter, his administration set the machinery in motion to clear the Augean stable exemplified by the mountain of refuse in Ibadan, which had become an eyesore as you move round the city.
This according to him was achieved through the introduction of weekly environmental sanitation to rid our cities of filth adding, “Ibadan today wears a new look of aesthetically delightful scenery. Our cleaner environment has consequently and drastically reduced ailments and diseases associated with filth. For example, with the reduction of diseases like cholera and malaria, we have achieved better and healthier living standards for our people”.
The governor said that all efforts by some residents of the state to return the city of Ibadan to unenviable era of filth would be resisted.
Ajimobi further gave himself a pass mark in the area of road rehabilitations and construction stressing “many roads were dualized and fitted with modern street furniture in almost all major cities, including Oke-Ogun, Oyo, Ogbomoso and Ibadan”.
Ajimobi proudly stated, “By a combination of administrative redesign, economic re-engineering and the creation of an enabling environment, we have successfully attracted local and international investors that have brought in new industries and business concerns. This has created thousands of new jobs for our teeming population”.
The governor disclosed that the civil service reform embarked upon in the last five years has given the state workforce a new sense of identity and improved socio-economic wellbeing.
“Our administration introduced several new incentives such as regular local and foreign trainings for public servants; free bus shuttle to and from work; payment of salaries on or before the 25th of every month; payment of 13th month salary for a record three years, before the current economic recession unfortunately altered the status quo. We also progressively raised the bar of our graduate primary school teachers from Grade Level 14 to Grade Level 15, extended the retirement age of academic staff in our tertiary institutions to 65 years and offered an unprecedented increment in workers’ salaries on three different occasions, among others”, he added.
Disclosing his challenges, he said, “Part of the challenges we are currently facing is the progressively dwindling revenue, occasioned by the sharp drop in the price of crude oil in the international market; a situation which has negatively affected our allocation from the Federation Account by over 60 per cent. That is a reduction from about N5bn to N2bn. Our internally-generated revenue was also negatively affected, not only by the dwindling economic environment, but also by pilfering and fraudulent activities of some civil servants and conniving corporate bodies”.
The governor assured the people that the ongoing staff verification exercise in the public service in the state was not aimed at witch-hunting or laying off of workers who possess valid credentials and job records, rather, an efforts to block loopholes and make the workforce effective and efficient.
“However, we are not unaware that political jobbers have gone to town with the tale that we are retrenching more than 16,000 workers. That is very untrue. As a matter of fact, quite a number of those 16,000 workers have already been cleared of any wrongdoing having clarified their data entries with the verification panel that we set up for the purpose. Let me, therefore, reiterate that only those who are unable to satisfactorily clear their issues have any cause for concern”, he pointed out.
To gradually offset the six month salary arrears owned its workers, the governor promised that he would not renege in the use of 100 per cent of the state allocation from the Federation Account for the payment of salaries.
As regards efforts to eradicate constant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, Ajimobi said, “Oyo State has also decided to establish grazing lands, feedlots and ultimately, ranching as lasting solution to the challenge”.