If not for the timely intervention of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Thursday, the striking teaching and non-teaching staff of the six tertiary institutions belonging to Oyo State would have gone ahead with their plan to occupy the Government House and the state secretariat on Friday (today) over non-payment of their salaries.
According to The Punch, members of the five unions at The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa; The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; and the College of Education, Lanlate, had visited the monarch in his palace to seek his intervention over the unpaid salaries.
The chairman of the Joint Action Council, Babatunde Adeniyi, who led the delegates to the palace, said the state government owed the workers 15 months’ salaries, adding that all efforts to seek dialogue with the government through the state House of Assembly had failed.
While addressing the protesting workers, the Alaafin said he appreciated the peaceful manner of their protest and promised to approach the state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on their behalf. He also pleaded that the proposed plan to occupy the government house should be shelved to allow peace to reign.
“You have looked up to me as a father to resolve the issue, I will also prove to be a good father to you by ensuring the matter is amicably resolved soon,” the monarch assured them.
While speaking on the plan to occupy the government house, Adeniyi said more than 20,000 workers were being mobilised to take part in the protest. He noted that the six schools had remained shut since a strike was declared by the workers on November 2, 2017 over unpaid salaries. He, however, said the workers would drop the plan (to occupy the state secretariat) and rely on the monarch’s promise to intervene in the issue.
He said, “Workers of the six state-owned tertiary institutions are on strike because we are being owed over 15 months’ salary arrears cumulatively by the Oyo State Government as a result of the illegal reduction of the personnel subvention to 25 per cent and fractional salary payment since January 2016.
“Today, we are paying homage to Oba Adeyemi to intimate him with the pain and agony the affected workers are passing through as a result of the unpaid 15 months’ salary arrears, in order for him to intervene and prevail on Governor Abiola Ajimobi to restore 100 per cent personnel subvention to the state-owned tertiary institutions and clear the backlog the salary arrears.”