Members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) under the Contributory Pension Scheme, Osun Chapter, have lauded the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for taking their welfare and general wellbeing as a priority.
The retirees, who belong to the pressure group, also commended Oyetola’s administrative acumen and noble approach to governance, saying, ‘God has given Osun the right man to do the job.’
This is even as the Governor reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to continue making life comfortable, worthwhile and meaningful for the citizens in general and both active and passive workers in particular.
The members of the Osun Contributory Pension Scheme, an arm of the State Chapter of NUP, gave the commendations on Friday during an interactive session with the Governor at Governor’s office, Abere, Osogbo.
Speaking, the leader of the Group, Mr Oyadare Gbenga, applauded the governor for the continued hands of fellowship being extended to them.
He attributed some of the peaceful negotiations and dialogues between the government and the workforce to the rare leadership quality displayed by the Governor whenever there is agitation.
“We are here for few reasons and one of them is to thank you for the hands of fellowship extended to us since your assumption of office. We must commend you because you have been taking us as your people.
“Your listening skills and capacity are unsurpassable and unparalleled just as your gentility is second to none. We equally want to appreciate you for your swift response to our plight, particularly when we had little challenge then. This has given us joy and conviction that we have a Governor that we can be proud of.
“I remember vividly the rare leadership quality that you displayed the other time when we took our matter to a Human Rights Radio station (Berekete Family) in Abuja. With that, you have once again proved to us that indeed you are a father to us.
“The calibre of people in the committee that you set up to handle the issues even before we went to Abuja is very superb. That is why we have the confidence to go back to our people with smiles on our faces after we have had fruitful meetings with members of the committee.
“One thing I appreciate most about you is the fact that you are very tolerant and accommodating and this fact can be attested to by your approach to issues that concern the welfare of the people, particularly workers.
“We acknowledge all you have been doing for us. I have taken my time to study you, particularly to know why you have been doing so much for us. I went through your profile and I saw the empirical facts. When I also heard that you always insisted on the barest minimum for every expenditure, including the ones that concern you personally as Governor in line with the economic mood of the State, I concluded that we have got the right man to do the job in Osun.
“It takes high intelligence to be doing all you are doing. When you promised full salary, minimum wage among other benefits, many thought it would be difficult. But today, they are living witnesses to all of those things.
“This is a government that has devoted N35 billion into pensions payment. This is not a small amount. We shall continue to be grateful to you and your government for the passion and love you have shown to us
“Aside from this, your Administration has taken socioeconomic and infrastructure development as a priority. In my Local Government Area, Egbedore, we have felt the impact of your government in this regard, particularly the road network spanning towns and villages, even to Ejigbo.
“We shall continue to sing the song of your good works because we have confidence in you and your government to continue to champion our course. We can assure you that your re-election is guaranteed since you are doing what we want.
“All we humbly demand from you is to speed up our bonds and work towards offsetting the backlog pensions arrears. We need about N50 billion to do that. We are of the view that FG can give us bailout and give us five years holiday or moratorium before they begin deductions and spread the repayment over 20 years,” Mr Gbenga said.
In his remarks, Governor Oyetola commended the NUP members for their unflinching support and show of understanding.
“I am happy to receive you. I commend you for the courage at fighting for your colleagues to claim your rights. One thing is that if we have money, we will pay, as you all know that despite the meagre resources, we have been faithful to our obligations.
“I want you to exercise patience. As things improve, we will be fulfilling our obligations. We want you to be more tolerant, patient and perseverant. We are working assiduously to do all that is necessary to make life meaningful and worthwhile for you. Let us continue to dialogue and negotiate.
“As we all know, Contributory Pension Scheme is the best, but it requires discipline. As you have attested to it, we are moving and progressing in fulfilling our obligations.
“We are doing regular deduction and remittance. If not for the outstanding, we would have offset everything. You all know what we are passing through. You know what we earn from Abuja and what we generate internally.
“Osun is not the only State that is challenged as far this backlog of pensions is concerned. Therefore, I doubt if FG will single us out for a bailout. The country is challenged economically. So, we must all put on our thinking caps and devise creative strategies and means of resolving the issue; and that is what we are doing here in Osun. As I speak, those whose outstanding are N500, 000 and below have been cleared up till December 2020. They are collecting their bonds as we speak. This is our way of taking care of the less privileged. Soon, we will look at those who have between N550, 000 and 650, 000 and so on. Like I said earlier, be patient with us. This phase, too, shall soon pass,” Oyetola added.
Earlier, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ismail Omipidan, attributed the successful parley to a high level of understanding displayed by the pensioners during the Abuja encounter.
Omipidan, who facilitated the courtesy visit, lauded the members of the NUP in the State for allowing dialogue to rule their relationship with the government.
Also, the Head of Service, Dr Olowogboyega Oyebade, thanked the pensioners for their understanding.
He urged them to continue to support the Administration of Governor Oyetola, saying the State meant well for them.
Those in attendance were the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Bola Oyebamiji; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Adebimpe Ogunlumade; Accountant General, Mr Sunday Igbaroola; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Loan Board, Mr Kayode Aliu; and Director, Bureau of Public Service Pensions, Mr Bayo Raji.
Other members of NUP in the State in attendance were the Local Government Representative, Mr Adegeye Olagbaju; Primary Schools Representative, Mr Isaac Olufemi; Secondary Schools Representative, Mr Awodele Abiodun; and Women Leader, Mrs Salami Bamidele.