By Gboyega Adeoye
Hope rises for Members of the Nigerian Union Of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ekiti State chapter, as they met with top management of Ekiti State Local Government Commission in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, as part of cementing the new relationship between local government workers and government after last administration’s harsh policy that threw workers’ welfare overboard.
The State President of NULGE, Bunmi Ajimoko, led his colleagues to a meeting attended by the Chairman of the Commission, Samuel Abejide; the Commissioners and top officials of the commission where the union listed demands that would reposition the local government administration for better productivity.
Praising the union for positive disposition to Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration, Abejide urged members to remain steadfast to the ideals of good governance which, he said, Fayemi’s administration stood for, even as he advised them to resist being used against their own interest like was the case in “the last administration that collected Paris Club refunds, budget support facility and bailout but refused to pay salaries, pensions, gratuity and allowances”.
He said as a people-oriented government, regular payment of salaries and pensions would be sustained, adding that the government would also attend to other needs of workers and Ekiti people in general through gainful employment and social investment schemes.
He added that to enable the state government attend to the needs of the people, the governor had been visiting and soliciting the supports of development partners home and abroad to assist in critical areas of development for improved living conditions of the people.
Ajimoko had earlier listed the union’s demands to include strengthening and widening of scopes of various units in the local governments through adequate training programmes that meet accreditation standards of higher institutions while also encouraging career progression of workers to enhance professionalism.
He added that workers that had acquired higher certificates should be considered for career progression to eliminate stagnation.
He also urged the commission to take a position on the transfer of health workers in the local governments to the Primary Health Care Development Agency to allay their fears while also asking the commission to address “recurrent absorption and promotion problems” in the system.
Other demands include directorisation that eliminates distortions in seniority cadres to ensure satisfaction in the work force to enhance service delivery while also urging the commission to discourage favouritism in loans disbursements to ensure justice.
Arguing against transfer of town planners to the state government, Ajimoko canvassed for the retention of town planners in the local governments, explaining that working in the third tier of government would enhance local governments’ revenue-generating capacity.
While pleading with the commission to address the problems of dismissed workers who were later re-absorbed but could not enjoy their benefits, he also urged the commission to address palace staff problems, arguing that the incessant changing of palace staff had put pressure on local governments’ finances.
Ajimoko also urged the commission to encourage training of union leaders to enhance good working relationship between the commission and NULGE.
While Abejide assured that the commission would attend to union’s demands, the Permanent Secretary, Mayowa Oyedeji, pledged open administration, even as he urged cooperation between the commission and NULGE in the management of available resources to protect the corporate interest of local government system.
He assured that the commission would soon act on demands for directorisation and appointment of Heads of Local Government Administration in all the local governments, disclosing also that the state government had raised a committee to upgrade Local Government Training School to meet the challenges of modern local government system.
Oyedeji urged the union to prepare a memorandum to contribute to the curriculum contents of the training school while also assuring that the issue of arrears of the victimised NULGE officials would be addressed.
Abejide also urged NULGE to educate their members on the resources available to the local governments to avoid misinformation that often causes tension between government and workers.