Despite being celebrated by most Nigerians for his achievements so far, the Oyo State chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has come out to say that the state governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, has achieved nothing, but mere propaganda since his inauguration on May 29 this year.
After his swearing-in ceremony on May 29, Governor Makinde (popularly called GSM) abolished the N3000 educational levy imposed on each pupil of the public schools in the State by his immediate predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
He also declared that his monthly salary would be used to augment the salaries of the pensioners in the State and equally pledged to ensure prompt and regular payment of salaries of civil servants working for Oyo state.
When it also appeared that the peace of the State was being threatened, he proscribed all the activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the State.
Media reports also have it that within his first 100 days in office, he had pledged to earmark 10 percent of the state’s budget towards the development of education sector in the State.
However, while addressing journalists at a press conference held in Ibadan which was organized to x-ray the achievements of the Governor Makinde since his inauguration, the SPN Secretary in Oyo state, Comrade Ayodeji Adigun argued that none of the so-called governor’s achievements is to be celebrated.
Adigun maintained that the governor has achieved nothing but mere propaganda. He said;
“SPN is holding this press conference to call on the mass of workers, youths including the poor masses in the state that none of the so-called achievement is to be over-celebrated as they are individually and collectively tokenistic, cosmetic and aimed at wooing the sympathy among the mass of the poor people in the state in order to create a favourable condition through which the regime will hope to commence the implementation of its anti-poor policies.”
“SPN welcome the cancellation of the N3,000 and the entrance examination fees imposed on secondary school students and student transiting from primary to secondary respectively by the immediate past regime led by Senator Abiola Ajimobi in the state. We welcome the cancellation not only because it will bring a temporary relieve for the poor parents who are the direct victims of the imposed fees but most importantly because the introduction of the fees itself was in the first instance unjust and anti-people.
“At the same time we reject the continuous propaganda that give a false impression that both the cancellation of the N3, 000 and examination fees including the free distribution of six exercise books to each of the students in the public primary and secondary school in the state represent a free education. This is a distortion and misrepresentation of fact. Free education goes beyond the cancellation of N3, 000 and free distribution of six exercise books for primary and secondary school students in the state. It entails so many things like the expansion and modernisation of physical infrastructure like classrooms, laboratories, library, sick-bed, including the provision of free meals, textbooks, uniforms and bursary to students. Also central to the delivery of free and quality edition is a well-trained and competent teachers with impressive remuneration
“However, going by the magnitude of propaganda and misconception that has been built around the cancellation of N3, 000 and the free supply of exercise books, it is obvious that the motive behind the so-called cancellation is primarily of propaganda and not to promote academic excellence of students in the state. This is not surprising! Every successive government in the state is known for this kind of populist approach which is always aimed to deceive the poor people to believe that the regime is different and pro-people. Element of similar approach was also noticed during the discredited Ajimobi led government. The regime also reduced payable fees in all the tertiary schools in Oyo State by 50% within 100 day of the regime in the office but later increased it beyond the amount affordable by children from poor homes as soon as the regime get stabilized.
“However, considering the terrible state of public education in the state, both the cancellation of the N3, 000 and entrance examination fees including the free distribution of the exercise books is like scratching the problem at the surface. The state of the decadence is so huge that most public schools in the state lack necessary facilities such as laboratories, libraries, computer facilities, adequate and properly-equipped classrooms, etc. Worse still, welfare and living conditions of teachers in public schools are appalling. In this scenario, it will be difficult for teachers, who have to fend for themselves and their families, to concentrate on work or have high morale for work.
“Therefore to resolve the lingering crisis ravaging Oyo State public tertiary institutions as well as to reverse the ugly trend of decadence in the public school across the state require far more than just a cosmetic approach of inaugurating panel of enquiry including the so called cancellation of both the N3, 000; entrance examination fees and free distribution of exercise books. We recognized that an upward review of the budgetary allocation from 3% to 10% is one of the step needed to be taken in this direction. However, we are equally suspicious if whether or not the upward review is primarily conceived to encourage an improvement in the state of public education in the state.
“Again, the kind of propaganda suddenly built around the prompt payment of the salaries and other gestures in the media further leave us with no other option than to suspect that the entire gesture is deliberate ploy to woo the sympathy of the people with the aim to build a mass opposition against the civil servants by the time they begin to demand the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000. This is another reason the leadership of the trade union in the state must not further delay the demand for the implementation of the new minimum wage.
“The labour leaders must begin to challenge the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to immediately commence the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000 without necessarily need to wait for the federal government to commence the implementation if truly the regime is pro-people as often claimed in its media propaganda. Unless this is done all of the so called achievements will be tantamount to a mere populism.
“Therefore, if Seyi Makinde-led government is serious to curb the corrupt practices often perpetrated by the pro-capitalist politicians through the contract system, the regime should start with the arrest and subsequent prosecution of all the individuals and organisations who are linked to the corrupt practices around the contract system such that public fund mismanaged and misappropriated by them should be retrieved, declared publicly and invested on the area of needs of the people. We believe that the same approach should also be adopted to all individuals’ ex-political office holders including the immediate past Governor whom the regime has continue to be alleged of mismanagement and undue appropriation of public fund and resources.
“To us in SPN we decry the attempt to return the union back to the park thugs, therefore demand the arrest and prosecution of any thug who has been one time of the other found culpable of instigating violent activities in the state. We also maintain that the so called ban placed on the NURTW is illegal and must be lifted and therefore call on the state government to commence discussion with the state leadership of the NLC with a view to agree on the modality to reconstitute the NURTW in the state. We strongly believe that an initiative to immediately call a congress of road workers to elect a democratic leadership for the union in the state will be a good step in the right direction.”